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Ferrari of Austin Passion and innovation. They are at the heart of every vehicle that bears the Prancing Horse emblem and are the driving force behind everything we do at Ferrari of Austin. Indulging the requests of our clients is always our highest priority. Whether you are new to the Ferrari family or a devoted enthusiast, the team at Ferrari of Austin shares your appreciation for exceptional performance – on the road and on the track. We invite you to experience the latest innovations from Maranello, born out of an unparalleled racing heritage. Among our products sure to increase your heart rate is the revolutionary FF. Featured above, the FF is the first production Ferrari to offer a four-wheel drive system and includes Ferrari’s exclusive 7-Year Genuine Maintenance Program.

For more information, contact your authorized Ferrari dealer: Ferrari of Austin 4108 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756 Telephone: +512.380.0231 ©2014 Ferrari North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Krystle Copulos mccarley Krystle Copulos McCarley has been a real estate broker for the last 10 years, specializing in condo living in Central Austin. As a top producing agent in the downtown real estate market, Krystle utilizes her extensive market knowledge, stays on top of real estate trends, and continues to broaden her client relationships. She strives to actively listen and respond to the needs of her clients as if she was dealing with her own personal transaction. Her ability to empathize with her clients shines through as a result of personal experience by wearing the buyer’s, seller’s, and investor’s hat. As a Real Estate Broker with several years of experience in the downtown market, Krystle is well connected, educated and creative. Contact her today to discuss your real estate needs. | (512) 659-9329 |


Austin | Dallas | San Antonio | International

contents FEATURES body


Under the Knife Meet the skilled surgeons at Restora Austin: Discover the newest trends and technology in surgery and get on your path to a perfect body.



Million Dollar Man Up-close and personal with Million Dollar Listing’s own real estate dynamo Luis D. Ortiz



How Google does Corporate Wellness

How the enterprise sets the bar for a new standard for work and play



Slouch Forward

Attractive apparel in yummy knits comes together in a compelling winter fashion statement.



VETTA Tastemakers (Part III)



The final chapter in this fun series, full of Austin charm and for this round, we brought lots of girl power.

Experiencing the Riviera Maya with Bret Michaels at the Hard Rock Hotel





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26 Letter



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‘The Golden Rule

editor’s picks

Austin’s New Fine Art Haven Wendy Wagner’s Legacy

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Holiday Wishlist


Beautify. Renovate. Repeat. Get in Shape!


It’s New. It’s Improved. It’s Synthetically Modified Food


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Get Ready to Sweat Austin Wellness Highlights Viva la Vegetarian!


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Holding Court


TRENDS: Jewel Box TRENDS: Leather Up! A Bag for Every Girl Soul Searching

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A Happy New Year All Year Long


Giving and Receiving


Modern Luxury in South Austin


102 104 110

Unlawfully Good Pack your bags! Beyond Skin

115 gatherings 120 bazaar


MORE VETTA ONLINE... Access for exclusive online content and make sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news, events, participate in our fabulous giveaways and more!

STAFF Publisher Managing Editor Art Director Director of Business Development Assistant to the Editor Web & Social Media Director

Coral Talavera Andres Mattei Alana Ortiz Lisa Chappell Miller Carolina Rios Soto June Leal

EDITORIAL Editor-In-Chief Fashion & Features Editor Body Editor Events & Lifestyle Photographer Fashion Photographer Fashion Stylist Contributors

ARTISTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT VETTA brings you the best and brightest from this year’s EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR. Enjoy our online coverage and favorite artists from this year’s edition.

Coral Talavera Olga Maria Czarkowski Kim Anthony Alejandro Mendoza, Studio Invitro Tania Quintanilla, TQ Photo Graham Cumberbatch Andrew Long Rachel Madorski Nathan Cranford


VETTA PROPERTIES Launching this January, VETTA has created a special section in our website, dedicated to amazing luxury properties in and around Austin. Contact us if you’d like to see your listing online.

FOR ADVERTISEMENT INQUIRIES (512) 887-8008 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 2711 Georgetown, TX 78627 OFFICE ADDRESS 1500 W 6th Street Austin, TX 78703 WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA VETTA is also on Google+

COLORFUL COOKING Break out the spice rack and hit the produce section, for 100 of the freshest salads and recipes. Get ready for some seriously yummy culinary experiments. Bon appétit!



VETTA Magazine cares about the environment. Our printers are Tri-Certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). We print using soy based ink and eco-friendly raw materials. SFI-00916







Nathan Cranford is an accomplished science and entertainment freelance writer. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a minor in History of Science, Technology and Medicine. During his undergraduate career, he served as a columnist and copy-editor for the Oklahoma Daily and COEUS Magazine. Post-graduation, Nathan served as a health reporter for daily Rx News and currently serves as a science writer for the Guardian Liberty Voice.


PERSONAL AND BUSINESS COACH AT ULTRA LIFE COACH AND PERMANENT CONTRIBUTOR FOR MIND Andrew Long is an accelerator, creator, and writer. His strategic life coach practice assists clients, in the shortest amount of time, to broaden and deepen their business, relationship, and personal life outcomes.


Rachel Madorsky, LCSW is a psychotherapist and relationship expert. With over 18 years of experience in the field, her love for her work and the Austin community keeps growing with each client she serves. Rachel’s therapy practice focuses on empowering individuals and couples to have more love, more joy and more peace in their relationships and in their lives.



Olga is an entrepreneur, Public Relations and Brand specialist in New York, with a roster of clients that includes English and Spanish NGO’s, personalities and leaders in fashion, beauty, lifestyle, culture, media and entertainment with worldwide reach. She’s also a fashion connoisseur, and has served as Associate fashion editor for various publications.


201 Rocky Coast Dr  




’m not a fitness buff, I don’t do yoga and I barely have time to work out. I know, I am a disgrace. In spite of this, my life is healthy and happy. I’m not just trying to get back into my pre-baby jeans and remaining attentive to what I (and my children) eat, but I’ve also started taking special care of myself on a new level. I strongly encourage anyone to do it; it won’t cost anything, just a little bit of discipline. The root of the problem is that I’ve put myself in an overwhelming position, where I have a tremendous amount of on my shoulders, aside from all the personal pressures my children, husband, parents, sisters and the ex-husband exert on my life. Here’s the solution: For the past couple of months, I’ve been practicing a new kind of routine that allows me to sit – without fail – for an hour with my husband (while my kids are still sleeping), while we drink our morning coffee and look out the window. By getting up just one hour earlier, I’ve been able to forge a habit that not only strengthens our relationship, but also gives me a space to clear my mind, which in turn allows me to be better prepared for work. That single hour out of the busy day that is dedicated to take in nature, be appreciative of our blessings, ponder on our bigger problems and forget our smaller ones, could not be farther from a waste of time. Although sometimes it becomes almost an hour of complete silence, it’s more enriching and fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. Since we started doing this, I not only feel more productive and in control, I feel generally happier (even more so than when I went to the gym everyday)! Because it is so hard for me to empty my mind, I had given up on more traditional forms of meditation, but I was so wrong. Scheduling time to meditate is the equivalent of a muchneeded pit stop. Bettering yourself is not just about reaching the peak of physical fitness; heart and mind must also be nourished. This was a resolution I made for my anniversary with my husband, but just to entertain the cliché, set the goal to optimize yourself, starting January 1st. Conversely, don’t give into the bullshit. Don’t go to the gym for a week; don’t eat healthy for a month. Even if you stick with it, don’t become an empty shell pushing through a workout. Don’t add pressure to yourself and don’t let others do it either. Be the person you want to be and help yourself, because otherwise you will be actively destroying your temple and wasting the precious resource that is your mind. This issue is dedicated to the New Year, by way of the New You. You don’t need an excuse to get off your butt and do things, but go ahead, take this excuse to kick-start yourself… Happy New Year, Austin!



Photo by Tania Quintanilla.


Left: Christen, Bethany and Rachel downtown. Above: Interior shot of the office.



ake way, Austin. TX Real Estate People LLC is here. This hot new real estate brokerage is ready to serve elite clients in and out of Central Texas, with a conveniently located Downtown office, some serious business know-how and a pretty cool name… Leading the office is real estate pro Christen Scharbauer Steen, whose skills have been relentlessly proven by hundreds of closed transactions (in both personal investments and client representations) during her glorious run with her previous brokers. Branching out into her own concept, she and her team bring the knowledge and passion for the Capitol City that only true Texans can offer.

native and our team has over a decade of experience working in the Austin market,” explained the savvy broker. Furthermore, the TX Real Estate People team explained to VETTA that they could not be prouder to call the ‘Lone Star State’ their home. Scharbauer is a fifth generation Texan, hailing from a prestigious horse and ranch family in West Texas that has been here since the 1800’s. Her teammate Bethany comes from The Weigl Family, right here in Central Texas, known for Iron works. “We have Texas Covered,” Weigl added proudly. The two businesswomen have been longtime friends and as Scharbauer stated, “it was very natural for us to form a group and amplify our success and experience to reach more of our business partners in our city and across the state.” 

Alongside Christen, Realtors Bethany Weigl, Rachel Earl Pineda and experienced real estate veteran Ron Jones will now serve discerning buyers and sellers out of their office on 1st and Comal. Under the leadership of this skilled (dare we say fierce) negotiator, the team of experienced agents brings some valuable assets to every transaction. “Our team members compliment each other tremendously. We have ranching families in our backgrounds, both locally and expanding across North, West and South Texas. We also have training in interior and architectural design, as well as in construction under our belts. We have a third generation Austin



Thanks to their excellent track record, the firm is confident in the success of the TX Real Estate People venture: “We have such an amazing group of satisfied clients; they were a great motivation to branch out on our own. We are so thankful for their continued business.” Scharbauer also explained, “we are very connected with our clients and with

the industry’s private networking tools. That’s how we are able to hear about listings that often don’t even make it to the open market. Our buyers love that inside info, as well as the fact that we are constantly searching on their behalf. Obviously, sellers are always happy to get an offer before even making the listings public.” The firm also offers commercial sales and leasing and in tune with Christen’s big passion, they also serve clients looking for farm and ranch properties and investments. TX Real Estate People is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown, where they are easily accessible to clients and their esteemed business partners. “Our group is local, truly exceptional and highly accessible”, added Scharbauer. We expect nothing but amazing things sprouting from this ultra chic agency. MORE ABOUT THE BROKER: Christen Scharbauer Steen has been in the real estate game since graduating from Texas A&M, and for the last ten years, was the leading sales agent for the Armstrong Group. Her work (including her stunning office) is testament not only to her impeccable taste, but also to her strong passion for interior design. She has a degree in Architectural Design, which is incredibly advantageous in her relationship with clients. The broker also loves to give back to the community, as an annual donor to the YMCA, Suzy’s Soldiers and other organizations. Moreover, she has been involved in youth activities, having served as a director of Rocky River Ranch, an all-girls camp in Wimberley, for three years. She is happily married to Chef Steven Steen ( and they live in Wimberley. VETTA


AUSTIN’S NEW FINE ART HAVEN DOWNTOWN MUSE Soft-spoken and uncontrollably creative, Ms. Kathryn Goodnite is an editor’s dream. She paints, she designs unique interior spaces, and owns a new, very trendy gallery downtown (she even has floors in new buildings named after her…) The owner and curator of Gallery 702 welcomed VETTA into this fun space and gave us a taste of the exquisite art brewing within it. A fine art connoisseur, she’s well versed in international paint and sculpture, obsessed with the unique textures and finishes her artists bring to the gallery, and fascinated by unusual color schemes. Kathryn’s nothing short of a modern-day muse. Aside from her gorgeous paintings (present in many of the newest developments rising up in Downtown Austin) Goodnite has an additional studio adjacent to the gallery, showcasing her contemporary seating and several large-scale paintings in homage to Rothko. She’s proud to incorporate what she calls an ‘element of equiluminance” into her new series, “Ethereal Cosmos.” A HOME FOR FINE ART In her new space, Gallery 702, Kathryn explores a wide range of tastes, shapes and sizes, to create a magically curated space for art (that also happens to be a great place for a party). Alongside partner David Deason, she’s created an elegant new exhibition space that features contemporary and 20th century paintings, while still nurturing local talents. By bringing her deep knowledge of the curatorial process and her experience in Houston, Goodnite and her partner aim to provide a home for renowned artists whose work is now represented in Austin. Some of the amazing names showing include: Joyce DiBona, painter Elizabetta Fantone, the late illustrator Walter King Stone, photographer Bobbie Bennett, and Verdaccio portraitist D.K. Richardson. Open since mid September, the gallery features an excellent balance of local talent and international-grade work. For their recent event “Lyrical Art”, a benefit for local music non-profit One World Theater, she sought the works of uber talented artists: Geoffrey Laurence, Mary Buck, Joseph Adolphe, George Krause, Winn Whitman and the incomparable Gil Bruvel. A BUILDING WITH HISTORY Nestled in the Bremond Block Historic District in the heart of Austin, Gallery 702 uniquely juxtaposes its historical setting with the modern art adorning its walls. Aside from the featured works from lauded painters, photographers and sculptors, the gallery itself is a work of architectural art. The exhibition space is located in what is formerly known as the William Franklin North Apartment, once known as Bellevue Villa. French ex-pats Mr. and Mrs. Harvey C. North constructed the Victorian-style house during the late 1800s. Gallery 702’s future plans include a coffee bar to create an engaging environment and to allow guests to gain a deeper understanding of the art that resides within.




Joyce DiBona is represented by MZ Urban Art in NYC and has been showing work in both Santa Fe and NYC. Her “Tattoo Sculptures” have been featured in magazines in Hungary and Spain, and her work has been featured on web-zines in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Ukraine, as well as throughout the US. Joyce is a multi-discipline artist, moving freely across various mediums from painting to sculpture to her new mixed medium glass works.


D.K. RICHARDSON D.K. Richardson has been dedicated to the Arts for over 46 years. Although realism has been her focus, the true challenge of her craft is capturing the essence of character and a subject’s true identity, beyond photography. Influenced by masters of their craft, Richardson continually strives to obtain a higher level of proficiency in her illustrations. Dabbling in impressionism and non-representational works, she always returned to her love of realism. Her work is a hybrid of contemporary and classical portraiture.



After training in painting, graphic design, photography and printmaking in London from 1965 to 1972, Laurence spent 20 years working exclusively with the figure, both life drawing and painting as his main artistic preoccupation. He has also dabbled in photography, illustration, fashion design and interior design internationally. He decided to attend the New York Academy in 1993, where he received his MFA Cum Laude and moved permanently to the USA. He teaches painting, drawing and anatomy to artists in New York, New Mexico, Florida and Washington State.




Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Fantone has always demonstrated tremendous ability in all things creative. She attended Dawson College in Creative Arts, and later obtained a Design degree at LaSalle. In her early adult life Fantone’s attraction to bright colors led her to experiment with acrylic, which became her medium of choice. It’s in 2006 that she gained notoriety in the art world when she presented her first complete acrylic on canvas collection titled ‘Various Faces.’ Tremendously inspired by the Pop Art of the 50s, 60s & 70s, Fantone launched her second art collection titled ‘Blonde Icons’ in 2008. Fantone has since presented several other collections and is now highly sought after among celebrities for her commissioned pieces. Some of her most recent celebrity clients include personalities such as Muhammad Ali, Celine Dion & the Kardashians, to name a few.

Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1959, but raised in southern France, Gil Bruvel started experimenting with art at age 9. Inspired by his father, he also dabbled in furniture design and applied these skills to his functional art designs in bronze years later. In 1974, Gil began studies at an art restoration workshop in Chateaurenard, France. He studied under M. Laurent de Montcassin, learning the techniques of Old and Modern Masters as well as art history of the 14th-20th century. Thereafter, he set up his studio in St. Remy de Provence until 1986 when he first made his way to the United States, making it his permanent residence in 1990. Each of his experiences has molded him into the incredible artist he is today.





he fantastical universe Wendy created was influenced by childhood memories, family, and her dogs Bam Bam, Roberto, and Lawrence. Her artwork or “Wendy’s World” as she called it, explored the shared human experience through humor and whimsy, by integrating abstraction and realism and using multiple media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and animation.

SOME THOUGHTS ON HER WORK “A genius with color, her mastery of various media from painting to ceramics to animation was equal to her rare talent in creating pieces where realistic imagery and abstract elements worked to create a narrative, transporting the viewer beyond boundaries.”  --Tara Conley, Artist

  “Wendy Wagner’s art operates via a pervasive sense of color, subversive humor and an unruly imagination...Wagner’s work engages the eye as much as the mind. Symbolically dense and unapologetically cute, her paintings entertain and befuddle the viewer.”  --Nancy Wozny, Editor of Arts & Culture Magazine

  “In paintings, sculptures, and animated videos, Wendy Wagner created an entire world of rainbow hued whimsy and joy. Throughout her life and in an impressive range of media, Wagner fearlessly explored the possibilities of color and play.” --Chris Cowden, Executive Director of Women & Their Work



Prominent artist Wendy Wagner, beloved by the Texas art community, passed away on September 13, 2014 at the age of 47.  Wendy Wagner left an artistic legacy that deserves recognition. She had 16 solo exhibitions and was included in numerous group shows as far reaching as Mexico and Japan. In 2008, Wendy’s mixed media painting, ‘I Hope I’m Dreaming’ was selected for the prestigious Hunting Art Prize. Wendy’s work gained international exposure with two solo exhibitions at the G-Trinity Gallery in Tokyo, Japan in 2009 and again in 2010. Remarkably, almost one year after being diagnosed with brain cancer and undergoing five surgeries, she produced her most ambitious solo exhibition at Women & Their Work in Austin, TX. Opening in January of 2013, her show, Look to the Left, was covered by the New York Times.    After being diagnosed with a Grade IV malignant brain tumor in April 2012, Wendy confronted her condition with bravery, dignity, and truthfulness. After multiple surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and numerous clinical trials where all treatments had been exhausted, MD Anderson released Wendy from care. Expected to live two to three weeks, Wendy Wagner maintained a remarkable inner peace and with full acceptance of the love around her she lived over a year and a half. The beauty and strength of her spirit was nurtured by the love and support of family, friends and pets who enriched her life. Wendy’s final solo exhibition in early 2013, Look to the Left, became a physical manifestation of her optimistic outlook on life after being diagnosed.  Despite her illness, she continued to create new work, embracing life and all it may bring. Wendy drew inspiration from her disability and channeled it through her artwork, stating “...the challenges have been beneficial artistic language. Even though I have lost my peripheral vision, I haven’t lost my artistic vision. I’ve been bursting with ideas - It is a new version of my work.” Embraced by family, friends, and the Houston art community, Wendy Wagner’s lively artistic spirit will live in the hearts of those who knew her and in the art she created.    Wendy’s legacy and colorful vision continues through The Wendy Wagner Foundation for Funding Creativity which empowers artists working across a wide array of disciplines and in all stages of professional development. Preserving the spirit, vision and legacy of its namesake, the Foundation provides scholarships, grants, project support and emergency healthcare resources to those who color our world. Contributions may be mailed to the non-profit Wendy Wagner Foundation for Funding Creativity at P.O. Box 980113, Houston, TX 77098-0113.





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1. Surprise your other half with a matching gift, such as these stylish watch sets by Allen Lyles Watches. ($200; | 2. For Mac Lovers, Adopted has created a high-style bag that fits MacBook Air 11” through 15”. ($70; | 3. Baby Rings by Pomellato ( 4. Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp: An Unforgettable Luxury Holiday Gift Experience. Share the stage with legendary artists like Roger Daltrey, Sammy Hagar, Joe Perry, Gene Simmons and Cheap Trick. It’s an action-packed four-day retreat, available at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas or Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut. (Starting at $5,000; | 5. Gold Knot Cufflinks by Tiffany ( | 6. Knitting is cool again with We Are Knitters. This hip startup offers a unique shopping experience: instead of getting cool clothes and decor, you receive knit the piece yourself. ( 7. For the multitasker on the go, the Dagne Dover Clutch-Wallet is the perfect day-to-night accessory for women. ($125;






Lake Austin Spa Resort


“A cool trend for fall / winter is side-swept, textured hair that still feels airy and feminine. I recommend this product line to all my clients because it’s a great way to achieve special effects, like adding volume, thickness or adding any other desired look or feel to their hair.” Katy Kinney Stylist & Owner Salon U (Lakeway)


1. Take some time off, rest and recharge at one of the coolest places in Austin: Lake Austin Spa Resort. Whether it’s for a yummy day spa service or for an overnight stay in paradise, this editor will be the first to tell you, it’ll change your life! Relaxation, nature, exquisite treatments and a whole lot of “doing nothing” are the perfect ingredients for some serious pampering. 2. Laura Mercier Body & Bath Crème de Pistache Scrub ($50; Indulge in this creamy concoction of rich exfoliants (crushed pistachio shells and jojoba



beads) and deep moisturizers (white pistachio butter, shea butter, and pistachio nut oil). 3. Clinique Superdefense Eye Cream ($40; Beauty Editors over the world swear by it, so get ready for unbelievable eyes, courtesy of Clinique. 4. Endless Summer Bronzer Compact ($42; Summer is gone, but your glow can live on with this mineral wonder from Rae Cosmetics.

5. Lafco Candle from Feather Your Nest ($60; Never underestimate the power of aromatherapy. This amazing chamomile and lavender candle will not only help create a relaxing atmosphere, but also inspire restful sleep. 6. Dryspun Finish Thickening Spray by Bumble and Bumble (



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1. Quilted Half Zip (Women’s - $118; | 2. Salar Capri (Women’s - $40; | 3. The Worm ($23; 4. Magnetic Bag (Women’s - $49; | 5. Reebok Crossfit Nano 4.0 ($120; | 6. Nike Zoom Hypercross (Men’s - $140; | 7. Essential Watch ($95; | 8. White Sistem Watch (Women’s - $150; 9. Clima Ultimate Long Sleeve Tee (Men’s - $25;



It’s New. It’s Improved.



onsumers are growing wary towards genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Technologically speaking, however, GMOs are old news. A new technology is on the horizon that has the power to genetically tweak food in a whole new way. Synthetic biology or “synbio” creates rather than modifies an organism’s genetic make-up. The goal of synbio is to grow organisms in the lab that are more efficient for human use than those found in nature. Unlike genetically modified seeds, which are cut and spliced with the genes of another organism, synbio uses fermentation to sprout a desired plant compound by mixing its genes with yeast. The fruits of synbio are not just found in fruit. Synbio products can be grown in a lab rather than a field, which requires tending and is subject to changing weather patterns. Dairy cows could be made obsolete by synthetic meat, cheese and milk. In other words, vegans could have their cow and eat it too. In addition, synbio products are inexpensive and a better health alternative than the products they are intended to replace, such as artificial sweeteners. Finally, synbio products are considered natural because they are chemically indistinguishable from the products that they mirror.


Sounds promising. Yet hope for synthetic meat is far reaching. Synthetic biology is a field to recently materialize in the marketplace of ideas. The only synbio product available in the United States is a substitute for artificial vanilla, synbio vanillin. But you won’t see it labeled on supermarket shelves. As we have seen, synbio products sidestep federal labeling because they are chemically parallel to natural resources and so, are technically listed as natural. Companies who use synbio vanillin are keeping their heads low because of the bad rap their sister product, GMOs, have received. Opponents of GMOs are skeptical that synbio vanillin is natural, since it masks a natural façade by using loopholes that sidestep federal labeling. Consumers do not recognize the difference between synthetic versus natural any more than vegans recognize the difference between organic versus healthy. Environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth, recognize that synbio products are not dangerous to the ecosystem; however, the means necessary to produce synbio products could be. Sugarcane plantations have a history for destroying forest reserves. The amount of sugar necessary to create synbio products, as envisioned in the dreams of

synthetic meat and dairy, could escalate the damage sugarcane plantations have already had on the environment. As food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, Dana Perls highlights the unforeseen risks synbio could have on the planet’s biodiversity: “We don’t know how these organisms will interact with pollinators, soil systems, other organisms…We need to expect escape, and when that happens, we need to be prepared to deal with it.” Synbio products are charged on the grounds for being unnatural because they cannot be found in the ground. What opponents of synbio products fail to realize is that ever since our ancestors branched from a traditional diet ten thousand years ago, agriculture has always been unnatural. Drinking milk after childhood is as unnatural to our species as the consumption of wheat. Reverting back to a “natural” diet requires trashing not just synbio products but the entire agriculture industry. Granted that some agricultural methods are more damaging to the planet’s welfare than others, the point to be hammered is that what is good should not be conflated with what is natural. Nature is indifferent. Might doesn’t make right.

VEGANS COULD HAVE THEIR COW AND EAT IT TOO. In spirit of weighing pros and cons, what other benefits/risks might synbio products entail? By manufacturing genomes in a lab, synthetic biologists could produce vaccines just minutes following a pandemic. Synbio could also create cleaner air and water by detecting and eradicating environmental contaminants. Yet science is a double edge sword. Placed in the wrong hands, these technologies could be seized by bioterrorists and have adverse effects on the environment. These are the arguments surrounding synbio worth discussing. Quibbles over whether this new food technology is natural have no more grounding than the soil upon which synbio products stand. VETTA

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GET READY TO SWEAT! by coral talavera


side from the opportunity to make a complete ass of myself, I must say that I was looking forward to my first class ever at Pure Pilates. I cannot stress how much fun I had (of course I got my butt handed to me). Precision meets extreme concentration, in this refreshing and innovative way to get back in shape after having my bouncing baby girl. Their machines are amazing and the staff is a dream to work with. With its West Campus location, a brand new studio at The Domain and another one on the way in South Austin, Pure Pilates has undeniably become Austin’s premier Pilates Studio, and in no ordinary way too. It is the only fitness studio in Austin, Texas to have the exclusive license to spotlight the Megaformer machines. Combining low-impact cardio intervals with weight training and precise movements on the Megaformer, their class provides a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing workout that leaves devotees wanting more. 40 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM


It’s not just about losing weight or toning; it’s actually a pretty exact science. Lagree Fitness™ is an innovative and aggressive approach to full body conditioning that effectively combines strength, core, endurance, cardio, balance and flexibility training. With Sebastien Lagree’s own ground breaking invention, The Megaformer™, a system of resistance and counter resistance is used to strengthen the body, tone and elongate muscles, improve endurance, burn fat and increase flexibility and postural alignment. Slow and targeted, this no impact program uses blocks of sequential movements that place muscles under constant tension, encouraging maximum exertion with a very low risk of injury. Simply put, the framework delivers an unparalleled, total body experience that is conducive to maximum results in a minimal amount of time. When Cameron Drummond and Allison Slapnicka met in a study group while working toward their MBA’s at UCLA, they had no idea they would eventually pack their bags and open up fitness studios in Austin, Texas. The co-owners are also trainers at Pure Pilates Austin and are passionate about leading an active lifestyle both inside and outside the studio.

Sparkle this Season AWA R D W I N N I N G cosmetics • makeup • hair

photo: Lucas Purvis


237 W. 2nd Street • 512.320.8732

Free validated parking at Amli & City Hall

FROM PURE PILATES’ OWN LAURA CHUNG VM: What’s your best advice to maximize the workout?

WHAT DOES AUSTIN THINK ABOUT PURE PILATES? “Watch out, you will become an addict!” –Paige W.

“Each and every muscle is touched - even those little ones you forget you have in your obliques and inner thighs. It isn’t like any Pilates I have ever taken - much more intense and a total workout from start to finish.” –Anna S. “I have already felt my body change within a few weeks.” –Martha Lauren S.  


LC: “You may find that some days you kill it at your workouts, while others you are struggling the whole time. Why is this? Below are some possible reasons for the variation in your performance. Nutrition and Hydration: Running on empty fuel can result in lowered physical abilities. Our body is like a machine and must have proper input in order for the output to be optimal. Complex carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes or brown rice, 2-3 hours before working out provide you with a great source of fuel. Also making sure you are fully hydrated is essential. Summers in Texas are hot and even if you’re not sweating you are still losing fluids. Drinking lots of water or even an electrolyte-enhanced drink, such as coconut water, can help you rehydrate. These are especially beneficial if had a few too many at happy hour the day before. Sleep and Recovery: For the most part, sleeping less than 7 hours a night can affect our fitness level. It is super-important for your body to rest and recover from mental and physical daily activities. With that said, taking into considerations the workouts you have done in the previous days is important. Your muscles need time to rebuild after strenuous work in order to prevent injury and work to full capacity. Focus: Moving and working our bodies is not only a physical thing, but also a very mental one. Connecting the mind to the body is essential in seeing optimal results. You tell your body how hard to work. If you are distracted by your to do list, a project at work, a situation with a friend or significant other, or anything other than the present moment at hand you will not be fully focused to work your body to its highest capabilities. Those thoughts will still be there after your exercise. So set them aside for the time being and tune into your body. Thoughts are not real anyways, they are something the human mind creates. You choose whether or not to believe them. There’s your empowerment for the day! Cheers!” VETTA



is well-known for being the live music Mecca of the world, but it’s also known and commonly recognized for its appreciation of healthy living. Austin made the Forbes “Top 20 Healthiest Cities in America” list, a reason in part due to our city’s large number of parks and highly active communities. Low chronic disease rates were also reported as a contributing factor. Health wise, Austin is considered one of Texas’ bestkept secrets.


In the past six months, the city of Austin has been the honored host of many sensational fitness and health events. I was elated to have press access to most of these awesome affairs. What a pleasure! Fitness, wellness, nutrition and general healthy living resounded in Austin for the better part of this year. Here’s a recap of some of Austin’s splendid wellness events.


The Fit Foodie 5K Weekend was packed with celebrity chef tastings, cooking and fitness demonstrations, yoga sessions, and a Power Systems fitness bootcamp, all led by celebrity trainers and fitness experts. It was nice to connect with Cooking Light and Health magazines’ amazing team of editors and contributors who shared helpful tips on wellness, fitness and nutrition. In addition, I had the chance to explore and add a few more of Austin’s top wellness resources, eateries and products to my valued “healthy living” collection.


Highlights by kim anthony


I WILL WHAT I WANT EVENT (AUGUST 16th) Under Armour has launched a wonderful social platform spotlighting women from all over the world who live their lives on their own terms, and celebrating the WILL to find inner strength and to follow no one. This event illuminated women and the strength that lives within us all. The morning itinerary consisted of a rejuvenating workout followed by a meet and greet. I met a host of amazing women and had the opportunity to try some yummy snacks- even got a couple washable Under Armour tattoos. It was definitely four hours well spent.


The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It was especially dear to my heart because I was walking with a sense of purpose, dedicating every step to my father who is battling this disease. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s truly united networks of family, friends, community, co-workers, religious groups and more. Solidarity was ever-present and in the air. It was an unmistakable display of combined strength and dedication in the fight against this devastating disease.


What an absolutely awe-inspiring event! There was no way you could get through this 5k without smiling or laughing at the very least once. The Color Run was founded in March of 2011 as an event to promote healthiness and happiness by bringing the community together to participate in the “Happiest 5k on the Planet”. It’s also recognized as the original paint race and has created a completely new genre of running events that continues to grow. It’s now the single largest event series in the United States. Color Runners vary in demographics and reasons for running. With no winners or official times, The Color Run caters to everyone –first time runners to seasoned athletes. It was fun getting doused with every color of the rainbow. Yellow just happened to be my personal favorite.


Back by popular demand, Prevention R3 Summit returned to Austin, TX for a second time. It was evident that the weekend events were thoughtfully organized and planned. R3 Summit brings leading minds in health and wellness together for a landmark weekend to exchange ideas, share knowledge and continue to provide consumers with the tools to optimize their health through the lens of six pillars: Healthy Epicurean, Health, Beauty, Peak Performance, Mind-Body and Happiness. It was such a fulfilling event, tapping into and expounding on every aspect of wellness, beauty, health and fitness. I left the event feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and balanced. It hasn’t even been a month following R3 Summit and I’m already looking forward to next one!



viva la



by nathan cranford

he vegetarian bandwagon is crowded these days. Some people have jumped on board for religious reasons; others out of concern for the environment. Whatever the case may be, one does not need to subscribe to a political ideology or religious doctrine to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle. The health benefits attached to a plantbased diet are enough to trade a knife for a fork any day. There is no golden calf that binds vegetarians together. Generally speaking, a vegetarian is someone who does not consume meat. Some vegetarians swear off meat but are happy to consume dairy products and eggs (lacto ovo vegetarians), whereas others boycott animal products all together (vegans). There are sub camps within these camps. Regardless, if you fall in or in-between these groups, congratulations! You are a card carrying vegetarian. Given the different shades of vegetarianism, a healthy diet should not be conflated with a vegetarian diet. A stash of Oreos, Roman noodles and soda is stashed at the back of the vegetarian bandwagon. Junk in the trunk as the saying goes. Nevertheless, a plant-based diet low in saturated fat and high in nutrients is sure to keep the vegetarian bandwagon on a healthy track. Here are some of the fruits of a diet grounded in stems.


unrefined plant food. The amount of saturated fat in meat and processed food make these statistics a recipe for obesity. In a study conducted between 1988 and 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, the researcher found that overweight people who started eating a plant-based diet lost an average 24 pounds and kept it off. VEGETARIANS TEND TO LIVE LONGER THAN NONVEGETARIANS. In a study consisting of 70,000 participants published in JAMA Internal Medicine, mortality rates among vegetarians were 12 percent less than non-vegetarians mortality rates. The results were transparent across vegetarian camps, including ovo vegetarians and vegans. These findings held true in other studies. Researchers have found that Japanese people have the longest life expectancy than anyone else in the world. Okinawa, Japan is home to the greatest number of centenarians in the entire country. The standard Okinawa diet consists mostly of vegetables and tofu. It is often said that correlation does not equal causation; however, the relationship between vegetarianism and mortality rates is suggestive if not telling. Studies and statistics are nice but why do vegetarians tend to live longer? As we recognized earlier, vegetarians avoid the noxious chemicals associated with food related illnesses. In addition, too much animal fat clogs arteries, making it difficult for oxygen to circulate throughout the body. This is why people feel tired rather than energized after a large meat based meal. Clogged arteries can lead to stroke, heart attack and sexual decline.

VEGETARIANS ARE LESS AT RISK FOR FOOD RELATED ILLNESSES, INCLUDING DIABETES, HEART DISEASE AND CERTAIN CANCERS. These maladies are mismatch diseases, meaning they are a product of culture rather than biology. Approximately 70 percent of the diseases that plague humanity, including one-third of cancers, are food related. The roots of food related illnesses are not found on vegetable roots. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 90 percent of pesticide residue clothes meat and dairy products. Pesticides are known for having a damaging affect on the nervous system.

A vegetarian diet is not without its fair share of critics. The most reputable argument made against vegetarianism is that the diet lacks an adequate supply of protein. Contrary to popular myth, vegetarians consume more than their fair share of protein. The National Institute of Health recommends 56 grams of protein per day. The average vegetarian takes in 71 grams of protein per day. The average omnivore diet takes in 112 grams of protein per day—over twice the recommended amount. There is a germ of truth behind any myth, though. An important vitamin that a vegetarian diet can lack is vitamin B12, which plays an important role in the formation of blood. B12 is manufactured by bacteria and mostly derived from meat and dairy products. Those who are thinking seriously about embracing a vegetarian lifestyle should seek an adequate supply of B12, either with supplements or fortified food.

VEGETARIANS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE OVERWEIGHT and it should be unsurprising. The standard American diet consists of 40 percent meat, 50 percent processed food and 10 percent plant food. The remaining 10 percent is knifed in two pieces, consisting of 5 percent potatoes and 5 percent

A vegetarian diet has a host of misnomers attached to its name. Cutting through superficial labels and inflated stereotypes, at the heart of a plant-based diet is a healthy heart. And that is enough in and of itself to step on board the vegetarian bandwagon. VETTA



UNDER THE KNIFE by coral talavera



ou take a close look in the mirror. The problem is officially acknowledged. You know yourself well and know your limitations, not just in time and effort, but also in patience. You’ve tried – in your endless pursuit of perfection – to reach the absolute best version of yourself, but there’s a lingering issue that only a skilled set of hands and serious medical expertise can make right. After researching options, you face the natural fear of undergoing surgery, knowing that you can only commit to this if you feel unmistakably confident in your surgeons, beyond the shadow of a doubt. You need reassurance about the best possible outcome: a more beautiful version of yourself. This natural process of earned trust is not only innate to our favorite local duo of surgeons; it’s actually their core philosophy. “Beginning With Trust, Ending With Beauty” is the motto of the boutique-style practice of Dr. Dustin Reid and Dr. Ashley Gordon of Restora Austin Plastic Surgery, Skin Care & Laser Centre. Out of their fabulous location on the corner of Lamar and 38th, a highly skilled team of surgeons and nurses offers cutting-edge technology and procedures, while setting forth their clients’ undisputedly lavish lifestyle. Restora is synonymous with an exceptional plastic surgery experience, characterized by privacy and total indulgence. Inundated with exquisite furnishings and alluring décor, Restora is a haven for betterment, and Inspire, their new wing dedicated to surgery with an overnight suite, is a space for more rigorous procedures and profound healing. In complete discretion and in the highest taste, Reid and Gordon are well known for their work, which can be best described as effectively subtle. The duo, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, completed their plastic surgery training at the prestigious Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, world-recognized for excellence in plastic surgery, as many innovative procedures on breast and aesthetic surgery were developed there. Reid and Gordon specialize in surgery of the breast including breast augmentation using silicone and saline implants, breast lift or mastopexy, breast implant revision and breast reduction. Other areas of expertise include facial rejuvenation, body contouring, and what they call “Before Baby Body” procedures. They firmly believe that skin health is vital to their results, so they offer the full spectrum of skin care and laser treatments. As Gordon explained, in a city like Austin, Texas, over-exaggerated enhancements are not acceptable. “Aesthetic enhancement is successful when it fits the patient’s overall appearance and is not overdone.” This is why discerning clients only trust their skilled hands. “We are overwhelmed with the response that our local clients have given us. Their continued support of our craft has allowed us to expand our office onto a state-of-the-art operating room and in to a magnificent facility.”

Doctors Reid and Gordon.


As I quickly came to learn, the staff’s graciousness is only matched by their experience and enthusiasm to deliver the most up-to-date treatment modalities. As Reid added, “Our highly trained, hand picked team empowers patients with knowledge, whether it be regarding surgical options, laser treatments, or skin care plans. No procedure is too small to receive top-notch treatment.” The doctors share the philosophy of leading edge, highly aesthetic results and the mission to exceed expectations in patient care. “Our staff members say their individual styles truly complement one another, and they frequently collaborate on developing new techniques and procedures. They have also shed great light on difficult cases. We are lucky to have such a great team.”

SCI-FI SKIN PERFECTION Restora is not only a pioneer when it comes to surgery; they are also bringing cutting-edge tech to Central Texas in the areas of rejuvenation and skin resurfacing. Austin, meet Halo.

BENEFITS OF HALO • Improves the skin’s tone and laxity, eliminating epidermal dark spots and addressing sun damaged areas • Smoothes and softens skin texture and eases fine lines and wrinkles • Decreases pore size by 20-60% • Requires less downtime than similar laser treatments • The laser energy level can be adjusted for each individual patient

Developed by Sciton, Halo is an innovative, hybrid fractional laser; it is the only one of its kind available to patients today. Restora Austin is the third practice in Texas to have this laser. At their prestigious launch event, I was able to witness a demonstration of how the procedure works wonders for numerous skin concerns. Anyone unhappy with the early signs of aging, areas of dark pigmentation, large pores and uneven skin texture may benefit from the Halo Laser. Using concentrated laser energy, the Halo gently creates microscopic ‘holes’ on the surface of the skin to work on a specific column-shaped area and leaves the surrounding skin intact. (It’s a process parallel to aerating your lawn, penetrating beyond the top layer). Before now, there were only two options: ablative and non-ablative procedures. Fully ablative lasers take off or vaporize all of the top layers of the skin and create a larger wound (which can result in downtime of a week and a half to two weeks). Meanwhile, non-ablative laser treatments offer shorter recovery time, but require more and more frequent sessions. Halo, however, is the first technique to combine the best of both worlds. This laser can be ablative and non-ablative in the same handpiece, allowing the doctors to dial in each patient’s perfect settings. This will be determined based on concern, skin tone, existing conditions and other personal factors. The laser works downward, to deliver effective skin resurfacing but requires short recovery time. After specifically targeted areas are treated, the skin’s tissue begins to heal, and glowing, new skin appears. Through precise technology, this mild seeming injury to the skin actually encourages the body’s natural collagen, continuing to improve the appearance over the months to come. VETTAMAGAZINE.COM 49

A TUMMY TUCK REVOLUTION One of the signature procedures is the Restora Austin Tummy Tuck 360™, which combines an abdominoplasty, with SAFELipo® contouring using Power Assisted Liposuction (PAL). An ideal alternative for post-baby bodies, the technique provides the ultimate result for patients wanting to reshape their mid-section after excessive weight loss. After doing traditional tummy tucks for years, Drs. Reid and Gordon found that while the patients were thrilled with their ‘flat’ stomachs and their overall appearance from the front, they lacked any visible change from the back. As Gordon explains, “The traditional technique wasn’t able to provide us with the goal of delivering a ‘Before Baby Body’ result. Pregnancy or big weight fluctuations don’t only cause changes in one’s appearance from the front, they cause changes along the sides and the back. People tend to get bigger or thicker all around.” Unfortunately, traditional plastic surgery training teaches surgeons NOT to combine a tummy tuck with liposuction due to perceived risks and complications. However, with advances in surgical techniques and the introduction of innovative procedures such as SAFELipo®, patients have safe, effective options that have never been available before. Drs. Reid and Gordon are two of a handful of doctors in the country and the only surgeons in Austin that have been trained to offer SAFELipo®, a radically different form of liposuction. They learned the technique from the inventor of the procedure, Dr. Simeon Wall. “SAFE”, is an acronym for Separation – Aspiration - Fat Equalization; these three techniques rolled into one is what makes SAFELipo® different from any other technique currently available. “It’s all about minimizing complications and giving patients better results,” says Dr. Gordon. “We like to describe it as ‘shrink wrap’. With SAFELipo®, the entire section of the body gets smaller, not just the saddlebags or the love handles. It works all the way around. We’re taking liposuction results to a whole new level”. Patients need to know that all liposuction techniques are not the same and that the technique and the experience of the surgeon really do matter. SAFELipo® takes more time in the operating room because it’s a three step process, but the results are well worth it. It’s not just liposuction; it’s true body contouring. GO TO VETTAMAGAZINE.COM TO SEE SOME AMAZING BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES.


MEET THE DOCTORS Knowledgeable, experienced and in deep synchronicity with their patients, the duo of skilled surgeons offer a wide array of cosmetic and reconstructive services that sadly, we could not accommodate in this fabulous spread. Regardless of the procedure, one brief consultation with the doctors will not only give you valuable insights, but also inspire your confidence. Let this careful examiner (and purveyor of Austin’s finest) put your mind at ease: do not let your fear of the journey impede you from reaching the perfect version of yourself. Whatever the challenge, consult Gordon and Reid and you’ll more than likely find a new set of trusted friends.

ASHLEY GORDON, MD, FACS You’ll probably be amazed to learn that 90% of plastic surgery patients are women but only 8% of plastic surgeons are female. Moreover, Gordon was the first board-certified female plastic surgeon who is also fellowship trained in aesthetic surgery to practice in Austin, Texas. Having been a plastic surgery patient herself, Dr. Gordon feels this experience helps her connect with her patients on many different levels. “As a woman and as someone who has had cosmetic surgery, I feel I bring a unique perspective and intimate understanding to the realm of aesthetic facial and breast surgery. I am keenly attuned to the emotional issues that accompany a change in appearance, and my treatment style is all encompassing.” Her patients view her as equal parts confidant and surgeon when discussing their insecurities and seeking advice on enhancing their appearance. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing my patients blossom as they progress through their plastic surgery journey. Accompanying an improvement in appearance is a renewed sense of self, increased confidence and self-esteem.” On her ability to deliver naturally beautiful results, she states, “My greatest compliment is when the surgical result remains my patient’s secret.” Dr. Gordon is a leader in the field of plastic surgery and has been named a “Texas Rising Star” on multiple occasions. She’s also been named by Plastic Surgery Practice as one of the Best Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeons year after year and was one of only three physicians named as “Top Plastic Surgeons in Austin” by Castle Connolly and US News & World Report.

DUSTIN REID, MD, FACS After spending only a brief time with Dr. Reid, It’s easy to see why his patients speak so highly of this exceptional surgeon. From the impeccable credentials to his infectious laugh, he delivers information in a way that is both informative and comforting. A natural overachiever, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University before ranking #1 in his medical school class where he was selected as Best Surgical Student and Outstanding Overall Medical Student by the faculty. After completing his plastic surgery residency, Dr. Reid founded Restora Austin Plastic Surgery Center in 2005. He specializes in aesthetic surgery of the face, breast and body, including complex breast revisionary surgery, which he often performs in collaboration with Dr. Gordon. Dr. Reid is also an expert contributor on rhinoplasty and a member of The Rhinoplasty Society, an elite group of surgeons dedicated to the advancement of techniques in nose reshaping surgery. He is considered a leader in the field of plastic surgery and was named as a “Texas Super Doctor” by Texas Monthly magazine, as well as a recipient of multiple awards for Most Compassionate Doctor by Patients’ Choice. Along with Dr. Gordon, Dr. Reid was one of the three physicians named as “Top Plastic Surgeons in Austin in US News & World Report. 


Navy coat by Êtoile Isabel Marant ($610; By George Soco). Tee by Helmut Lang ($115; By George SoCo). Running tights by Athleta ($89; Athleta). Black hooie by Athleta ($118; Athleta).



photographer Tania Quintanilla wardrobe Graham Cumberbatch hair Robert Grimes makeup Kelsey James model Kathryn Havens from Campbell Agency


Mesh hockey jersey by UNIF ($110; Golden Bones). White sport hoodie by Athleta ($89; Athleta). Backpack by UNIF ($88; Golden Bones).


Skirt by Milly ($495; FOUND). “Paris” tee by Maison Scotch ($65; By George SoCo). Baseball shirt by Civil ($85; Golden Bones). Sneakers by Woman by Common Projects ($422; Kick Pleat). Body suit by UNIF ($94; Golden Bones). Hat by UNIF ($38; Golden Bones).


Sweater by UNIF ($54; Golden Bones). Varsity short by World of Women Couture ($42; Golden Bones).


Body suit by UNIF ($94; Golden Bones). Gray tee by Athleta ($54; Athleta). Jeans by Closed ($320; By George SoCo). Plaid sweatshirt by A.L.C. ($382; By George SoCo). Sneakers by Woman by Common Projects ($400; Kick Pleat).


Baseball jacket by Dora Landa ($228; FOUND). Zip front dress by Hunter Bell. Black run tights by Athleta ($79; Athleta). Mesh bra top by Rehab ($31; Golden Bones). Sports bra by Athleta ($44; Athleta). Sneakers by Nike ($69; Academy Sports + Outdoors).


Jacket by IRO ($1245; Valentine’s Too). Sweatpants by Sea NYC ($355; Valentine’s Too). Sneakers by Golden Goose ($575; By George SoCo). Hat by Headsweats ($20; Athleta).






by andrew long

he holiday season is upon us. It is a time to relax, reconnect with family and friends, enjoy lavish dinner gatherings, attend celebratory parties, and exchange gifts. As the winter equinox brings us the shortest day of the year in late December, we can reflect on our past and ruminate about our future. It is a tipping point as now the days will be getting longer. The entire holiday season is a special time of the year to experience and share your deep joy. An opportunity for change. As you read this, notice what comes up for you. Is your heart starting to beat a little faster or are your neck muscles tensing up? Are you beginning to stress out, dreading certain parts of the holiday season? Worried about the temptations of too many cookies or your long gift shopping list that seems impossible to complete?

CONSIDER THIS QUESTION: WOULD YOU LIKE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON TO BE DIFFERENT? HOW ABOUT THE REST OF THE YEAR? HOW ABOUT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? You are a magnificent creator. How to create change is not a huge secret. It merely takes awareness identifying what your needs are, how they can be met, and then taking small action steps to create it. All for the asking, but you have to ask. Annual events like the holidays, birthdays, or wedding anniversaries give us the opportunity to reflect and reset. Take a moment to center yourself and breathe into your reality, the one you’ll create this holiday season through clear choice making. Once you reframe everything as a choice, you do away with have to’s, obligations, or should’s. Commit now to stop should-ing on yourself. Instead, wonder into the different ways you would like to consciously create a holiday season that gives you maximum joy, ease, and flow. Start with a commitment statement such as, I commit to creating a nurturing and fun holiday season that gives me energy through 60 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

a deep connection with myself and others. Notice what thoughts and ideas arise. Next, identify what your needs are. Notice if your need for deep connection is best one-on-one. Do you like small intimate gatherings, large groups, all night parties, or a combination of? Begin to make a Joy List by simply identifying what brings you joy. Keep wondering, “What are my needs for the holiday?” Follow up by asking yourself, “What is the simplest action step I can take to actualize it?” Then move forward and follow through. In the coming weeks you’ll also be invited to many holiday events with many food and drink temptations. Make conscious clear choices. One of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is to be mindful that you are in control and your choices reflect that. Use the temptations as your mindful teacher. You are in charge of your body and what you eat or drink. As you approach the New Year, take it on as an invitation to reflect upon what was, what is, and your future intentions– what you want your life to be. When you are counting down the seconds and yelling out “Happy New Year,” remember you actually get to live your life, happily. To get on the right path to achieving happiness this year, keep in mind two concepts––perfection and practice. Focusing on perfection is limiting and selfpunishing; focusing on practice leads to growth and expansion. There is a point when my clients get a puzzled look on their face as they realize perfection and self-discovery mix like oil and water. Underneath that puzzled look is the thought “I can’t get the hang of creating what I want, because I keep messing up. I get distracted and want to give up.” Then I share with them a story about the Dalai Lama, how he, just like you and I, veers off course, except his interpretation of it does not stifle his expansion. He practices returning to the present moment and recommits. The Dalai Lama was speaking at a university in upstate New York. Afterwards during the question and answer period, an audience member chastised herself for getting distracted during mediation. She lamented, “I have so much mind chatter when I try to meditate, I can’t do it right.” In his unique style of humor and wisdom, His Holiness expressed how appropriate the question was that particular day. He explained earlier that morning he noticed how his thoughts were scattered too during his meditation practice. (continued on page 114)



here are many worthy places to apply the adage “To give is to receive”, but some of the most titillating and rewarding are in the areas of love and sex. I’m not talking about being virtuous, although being virtuous often leads to feeling happy. I am talking about being so caught up in the moment that there is no line between who is taking and who is giving, getting and receiving because it all feels good. Let’s  talk about feeling sexy, having sex and giving love. FEELING SEXY  How do you feel sexy and who benefits when you are feeling sexy? We feel sexy when we decide that it’s okay to be... dirty, flirty, bad, good, powerful, vulnerable, real, playful, authentic, strong and soft… When we say “yes” to all the parts of ourselves. Who benefits when you’re feeling sexy? Everyone. You do because you feel alive and your partner benefits because your partner wants you. He or she wants to see you saying “yes” to yourself. It’s a huge turn on. Forget feeling self-conscious. A sexy body is not about cellulite or six-pack abs. A sexy body is about giving yourself permission to enjoy what you got. “Yes” is a sexy word.

yourself to receive? See if you can keep expanding your ability to receive the good things in life and work on it together. 4.LET IT FLOW In order to let go and blur the lines of giving and receiving, we need our sexual experiences to be fluid and fun. Repeat, combine and blend steps 1 through 3 the way you would paint a picture if the rules were  only to express yourself and have fun, the brushes were your fingertips, the paint colors were many and the canvas was your love life.



GIVING LOVE  Giving love is both natural and learned. We love until we’re given a reason not to and, even then, we often find a way to keep on loving. If you are in a long-term relationship (with anyone, including yourself!), you are continually learning how to love despite any perceived reasons not to. As we love and forgive ourselves more, our capacity to love others (especially our partner) also grows. Give more love to yourself and you will naturally give more love to your partner.


You can practice loving yourself by saying “Yes” to yourself more often. In an interview, Dr. David Schnarch, author of the bestselling book Passionate Marriage, explains by rachel madorsky, lcsw HAVING SEX that  “Marriage isn’t about giving Having sex  is one of the few yourself up or compromising activities that you share primarily yourself, because this generally kills with your partner (if you are in a long-term monogamous relationship). sexual interest and desire... The key is holding onto yourself so you It can create, cultivate and express love, lower stress and improve can have more of yourself and more with your partner. When you feel your overall sense of strength and wellbeing in your relationship. Here proud of yourself, it increases your sexual interest and your interest in are 4 Steps to blurring the lines into a bigger better sexier love life. your partner.” 1.TAKE Take the initiative and instigate. Your partner wants to feel like you want him or her bad enough and that you want their sex bad enough that you are willing to take the first step. Let go of the judgment from anything and everything you’ve ever heard, learned or thought about sex. Let yourself go and do some taking. 2.GIVE You know what your partner wants and you intuitively also know it. Give it with love. Give it with joy, generosity and with care, like a beautifully wrapped gift that took thoughtful effort and time to choose.  3.GET Receiving can be the most vulnerable thing in the world. Let yourself be hungry, excited and ready to receive. It can be a spiritual practice to fully open your heart (and everything else) to your partner, who, let’s face it – physically needs you. How much can you allow 62 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

As strong, smart and savvy lovers, we may be aware that it is not our partner’s job to fulfill us in every way, but do we understand and take the time to make sure that WE ARE feeling fulfilled? We need to. It’s important to love your life. Even 15 minutes a few times a week spent on pursuing your dreams and desires will make a significant difference in the way you feel about yourself. Get your passion going for yourself and your life and you will have MORE to give, have and share with your partner. Let your life be a turn on. Here’s my advice, fellas: Freshen up, spot you mate and let your presence be known. Ladies: put down this article, put on some sexy music, let your hair down and let yourself dance sexy. Experience it… enjoy it and continue to give those great sensations to yourself and to your partner. VETTA





ossett Jones Homes, one of Austin’s top custom homebuilders is proud to announce their new project in South Austin, Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes. This hip urban development is rising just on the outskirts of Downtown, located on Bluebonnet Lane (a block off of South Lamar Blvd). Leslie Gossett, with Austin Portfolio (a division of Keller Williams Luxury International), is thrilled to act as their exclusive listing agent, as she has already started feeling the hype around the stylish units. “I’m very excited to enter a project of this


scale with GJH, especially after the huge success we experienced with their South River Cityhomes project.” Located at the corner of Brackenridge & E. Live Oak, only a block away from South Congress Avenue, South River Cityhomes was GJH’s most recent urban living condo project. “Unlike some of the new high-rises sprouting all over Downtown Austin, the Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes project has a very quaint community feel, while maintaining a sleek design with modern flare. Buyers are drawn to the awesome amenities surrounding the complex, but ultimately fall in love with the fact that it still feels tight-knit and has a lot of Austin’s personality”, Leslie told VETTA.



02.07.15 YOU’VE GOT A DATE WITH MODERN. The Modern Home Tour is back, bigger and better than ever! New premium sponsorship opportunities are available. Inquire today.


The Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes are just a mile from some of Austin’s most notable outdoor staples, including Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool, Lady Bird Lake and the Hike & Bike Trail. Add to these great Austin landmarks the vibrant nightlife, restaurants, shops and culture of South Lamar, and Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes instantly becomes one of the most desirable spots for 2015. GJH projects are built using their refreshing approach to metropolitan family living and Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes is no exception. Matt Jones, partner at GJH, told VETTA “we embrace the City of Austin’s vision to develop a more vibrant, livable, and connected city. In support of this vision, we have broadened our scope to include multi-family, higherdensity Cityhome developments, in addition to our single-family homes.” According to company executives, their goal with the Cityhomes concept is to redevelop large infill lots, creating a luxury product with close proximity to downtown Austin while maintaining affordability to their clients. As their savvy listing agent explained, “This project represents a great product for young professionals, small families and even empty-nesters who want to live closer to all of the action and amenities found in the heart of town.” The Bluebonnet Lane Cityhomes condos not only set forth a refreshing


community perspective, but also integrate great technology innovations. Leslie Gossett explained: “The units are high-style, simplistically chic spaces that are also incredibly efficient. GJH is devoted to green building and deeply invested in urban construction that promotes intelligent growth. They redevelop land and utilize infrastructure in an environmentally conscious way, which presents an all-around appeal to buyers who are looking for innovative properties.” The GJH brand is strongly focused on creating units that rise above industry standards in overall energyefficiency. Past Cityhome projects have received a HERS Rating of 59. Based on average estimates for single-family homes in the U.S. developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this translates into savings of $1,257 per year. The Gossett Group is accepting reservation agreements for the last units available in their pre-sale, ongoing since last month. According to the Austin Portfolio real estate dynamo and Platinum 50 nominee, “the builders and myself, through our deep knowledge of Austin and our passion to forge this fun and intimate urban community, expect nothing less than to sell out in record time.” VETTA


MILLION DOLLAR MAN by coral talavera photographs by senen llanos



or Luis, there’s no better way to wake up than inundated with light bursting through his floor-to-ceiling glass windows, taking in the impressive Manhattan cityscape. About his inspiring view of the Hudson River from his chic apartment in Battery Park, Luis jokingly says, “I don’t think I’m ever putting draperies up.” Out of his high-style corner apartment in Liberty Luxe (with smalltime neighbors like Leo DiCaprio), Ortiz prepares for yet another busy day of real estate ass kicking, and finds himself invigorated by the powerful energy of the Big Apple. He goes through his collection of suits, picks out his favorite watch for the day and heads out to discover his next million-dollar challenge. “I believe a watch can say a lot about the wearer’s personality. It completes the man. My favorite in my collection, so far, is my Patek Phillippe.” You may have gathered that for Luis, his closet is an essential part of his life; it’s no coincidence that he was named one of US Weekly’s 20 Most Stylish New Yorkers last year. “My brother says that he’ll get me suit pajamas. He opens my closet and there’s just a sea of suits.” The dapper, slick-haired exec is admittedly devoted to his trusty Elnett L’Oreal hairspray and modestly added, “If I’m going out to sell million dollar homes, I might as well look like a million dollars myself.” A WILD RIDE In case you’re not familiar with Ortiz’s freakishly ambitious journey, here’s a synopsis. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico native grew up with his mom and dad and his inseparable twin, Daniel. Without any forewarning, the two brothers set out on a daring adventure at the age of 16, swapping their hometown for New York and a leaving just a little note to his parents. Cute, huh? For Luis, the road to luxury real estate has been paved with legitimate, good ol’ fashioned hustle… The sales dynamo has worked for at least five firms in New York, starting with Blackstone Properties and then Prodigy Network. After that, he moved to Synergy. When asked about his numerous moves, Luis explains “The fact that I’ve moved through all these companies is not because I’m unreliable; it’s because I always reach a point where I’m at the top of the firm but I’m still nobody. I’ll stop learning because nobody is teaching me.” He then joined Keller Williams but was quickly let go, due to the “sensationalism of reality TV”, according to the firm. Last year, Luis joined Douglas Elliman, the firm Million Dollar Listing co-star Fredrik Eklund calls home. Incredibly humbled by his rapid success, Luis had his heart in his hand when he published: “When I joined [the show] I was in the fourth year of my real estate career. I was passionate, ambitious, energetic, committed, but in a bit of a childish way. I was all over the place. I was a kid without a plan, a guy who rolled the dice in any situation just to see how far I could take things. In a big way, this is how I’ve learned most of the things I know. I strive for that.” HIS OWN LIVING QUARTERS Ironically, Ortiz admits that although he’s familiarized with his clients’ lifestyle, he still needs to define his own. “I still don’t know exactly where I want to live, so I move every year… and I always choose something quite different to the previous space.” About choosing his own place of dwelling, Luis added, “although it was a crazy ride, it’s where I wanna be right now. This neighborhood is really growing and I can offer a lot of clients a good insider’s perspective on the neighborhood they’re looking to invest in. This apartment is very modern and was not meant to be decorated traditionally, but that’s just a little closer to how I really am.” VETTAMAGAZINE.COM 69

Luis has surrounded himself with exquisite furnishings and décor in the highest taste. In his aim to create an inviting atmosphere, he chose a round table for his dining room. “I want to encourage conversation, that’s why I’m not a big fan of square tables.” Art also makes an appearance thanks to his passion for photography, alongside best friend Senen Llanos. Luis has his own private collection of black and white prints popping against his deep blue bedroom wall. “They’re all mine,” he explained proudly, “and I have several cameras that are part of the décor. On weekends I like to go to the Village and take pictures of interesting people and architecture.” About the impeccable interior design work in the rest of the apartment, Ortiz added, “Although the zebra upholstered chair and the fur rug were not wish-list indispensable, I must say it’s turned into my favorite spot to read and relax.” The space was done by Daniela Sablic and now serves as his haven for recharging and unwinding after a hard days’ work. About the elements in the space, Luis added “I love to use light colors, especially gray, and strong accent colors, like the chocolate brown in my office. I’ve seen it used in really elegant ‘old money’ properties and I love it.” BACK HOME It’s plain to see that Luis holds Puerto Rico dear and near to his heart: “I was so excited to go back home for an episode this past season, that I didn’t even care that I wasn’t getting a commission.” His parents still live there, as well as some good friends. “If I could buy property on the island, it would definitely be in Old San Juan. It may sound cliché, but as most of your readers will find out, the colonial character of the capital city is amazing; I would want a courtyard with a fountain.” Although, naturally, work impedes him from visiting as often as he would like, Ortiz reminisces about his hometown and even admits to always keeping some coquito in his fridge. (For those of you unfamiliar with this calorie-packed concoction from the heavens, it’s something like Puerto Rican eggnog). 70 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

He recently celebrated his birthday in mid-November with his adored brother by his side, and made sure to go all out! To Luis, “In the end it all comes down to family!” This past Thanksgiving, Luis was happy to spend some time with friends and was thankful to them for making him feel like part of their family on such a special occasion. “This made me realize how much I miss my family back in the Island.” Pertaining to his own family affairs, Luis let us know that he plans to have at least 3 kids… admirable undertaking, sir. IN MORE RECENT NEWS This past October, he participated in a high-profile real estate event in Arizona to share his knowledge and passion, not only for his work, but also for life. He was also recently invited to the Manhattan College for a speaking engagement. Luis commented, “People have oftentimes asked me ‘How do you manage to survive in such a competitive world?’ I always resort to the image of a race. Focus on the goal, not the runners behind you”. In the competitive (somewhat cutthroat) market that is luxury real estate, especially in a high-stakes city such as New York, Luis stated: “I make sure to use every available tool to set myself apart and let my brand be heard, without jeopardizing the work that I’m trying to accomplish.” As he explains to clients (and in his website), “the TV show is a great way to showcase my talents and the work that I do. It compliments my work and my brand in a great way.” LONGHORNS IN THE HORIZON? When asked about his take on Austin, Luis seemed very excited to come visit us soon. “A lot of people from New York, California and Miami are moving there and I also hear there are a lot of Puerto Ricans doing great things there.” (Compliment taken, by the way). He summed up, “With all the high net worth individuals in Central Texas, I’d love to pay you guys a visit and see what all the commotion is about. Downtown seems amazing!”

THE FUTURE Luis in not certain about the future – and who the hell is at the age of 28? However, we are confident that his journey will only continue onward and upward. Although this path served as an immense learning experience, Luis set out to find balance and to ‘grow up’ in 2014. “This year was about evolving. Even now, I’m learning. I am also a bit scared because I know next year I will evolve as the new Luis. Another year will be another great journey that I’m really looking forward to.” Looking back at his life and his journey, he explains, “What I’ve enjoyed the most is the journey itself. There’s no trophy without a race.” Now that this MDL’s third season is a wrap, Luis is more humbled than ever by the privilege to be a part of the show and to come into the homes of so many Americans. “When you call me and ask me to do business with you, that means I’ve earned your trust and that makes me extremely happy. When all of you tell me how happy I make you, it makes me realize that it has all been worth it. Everything,” Ortiz added. We can’t wait to see him back for season 4. During our little exchange, VETTA took away a lot of great things, but mostly, an unshakable impression of Luis’ true humility and his sense of urgency for his work. This could not ring truer to me or to our editor in New York. I always jokingly advise readers and colleagues in Austin to look up the definition of “unstoppable” in the dictionary: “a Puerto Rican on a mission.” However, Luis’ story is not compelling because he’s Latino or because he works with luxurious homes; this editor found deep interest in this narrative because none of his success was handed to him. That must be part of the reason why everyone now wants a little piece of Luis; he’s truly an inspiration. As Ortiz himself would tell you, “you just have to keep fighting.” VETTA




photographer Tania Quintanilla wardrobe Graham Cumberbatch hair Robert Grimes makeup Kelsey James model Alencia Lewis from Campbell Agency

Pleated Pant by Studio Nicholson ($386; Kick Pleat). Navy top by Studio Nicholson ($386; Kick Pleat). Turtleneck by Ralph Lauren ($425; Julian Gold). Shoes by Belle ($225; Valentine’s Too). Jacket by Akris ($1,590; Julian Gold). Bracelet by Giles and Brother ($48; Valentine’s Too).


White sweatshirt by Studio Nicholson ($548; Kick Pleat). Quilted shorts by Harvey Faircloth ($350; Julian Gold). Coat by Max Mara ($1845; Julian Gold). Shoes by Rachel Comey ($463; Kick Pleat).


Galactic sweater by Acne Studios ($622; Kick pleat).


Swing Cardigan by Rachel Comey ($425; Valentine’s Too). Aylina Coat by IRO ($930; Valentine’s Too). White Pleated Shirt by Trina Turk ($268; Julian Gold). Lux Wideleg Crop Pant by RHOI ($342; Kick Pleat). Shoes by Rachel Comey ($463; Kick Pleat).


Dramatic Moh Sweater by Acne Studios ($350; Kick Pleat). Camel Scarf by A.L.C. ($500; Valentine’s Too). Camel Jacket by Shamask ($2,295; Julian Gold).


Striped top by Vince ($225; Valentine’s Too). Cardigan by Mm6 by Martin Margiela ($452; Kick Pleat). Pants by Tibi ($325; Valentine’s Too). Wool tunic by Tibi ($495; Valentine’s Too). Black trench by L.K. Bennett ($525; Julian Gold).


Wool tunic by Tibi ($495; Valentine’s Too).


Navy and cream sweater blazer by Veronica Beard ($795; Julian Gold). Jeans by NSF ($285; Valentine’s Too). Dress by Hope ($430; Kick Pleat). Plaid Flannel by Koch ($388; Valentine’s Too). Black oxford by Acne Studios ($571; Kick Pleat).








5 7 6


8 9

1. Brown Diamond Ring ($16,500; | 2. Champagne Crystal Earrings ($440; 3. Golden Crystal Tassel Earrings ($415; | 4. Roberto Coin Pois Moi Collection ( 5. Green Iridescent Crystal Earrings ($315; | 6. Crystal & Cubic Zirconia Earrings, Silver ($525; 7. Sugar Stacks Ring by Paloma Picasso ($1,350; | 8. Oscar de la Renta Clear Multi-Crystal Necklace ($995; 9. SchlumbergerÂŽ Fish Bracelet ( | 10. Silver-Plated Deco Crystal Earrings ($440;







5 4 6


8 10 9

1. Collection Laser Cut Leather Top ($550; | 2. Vegan Leather Slip Tank ($78; 3. Quilted Leather Gloves ($80; | 4. Essential Leather Pants ($349; 5. Luxe Leather Link Bracelet ($45; | 6. Faux Leather Filigree Plate Necklace ($88; 7. Trousers with Faux Leather Patches ($80; | 8. Collection Calf Hair and Leather Loafers ($288; 9. Fringed Leather Jacket ($200; | 10. Leather Boots ($149;


Hilton Austin Event Chairs:

Honorary Chairs:

Director & Emcee:

Katie Jaffe & Venus Strawn

Andra & Joe Liemandt

Sabrina Barker-Truscott

To reserve your table visit:



A BAG FOR EVERY GIRL To every yin there’s a yang. For every structured Louis Vuitton satchel that exists in the runway wilderness, there’s an irreverent Betsey Johnson cross-body bag running free. Designed to elevate the style of an outfit and dictate the mood of the occasion, handbags have evolved into an art form.

The Fashionista

Bright, bold and provocative, this Michael Kors bag was made for hip girls who like to stand out (and don’t mind getting tons of compliments). While citron breaks out of the expected winter color scheme, its sexy gold accents make it a sleek little number. Jaryn Calf Leather Tote ($895;

Rugged Madam

Distressed leather is a perfect ingredient for this recipe of laid-back refinement. This stunning handbag from Zink is a match made in heaven for active women who need a bag to weather the elements, but with a high level of taste. It says “I’m busy, I’m dynamic and I’m also stylish.” It’s a handsome bag for gals who mean business. Jaunt Handbag in Chestnut ($495;

The Sweetheart

Some may find it too cutesy, but admit it: there is something very special about the Barbies in your life. If you, my dear, are one of those extra perky gals that loves pink, all things frilly, and used to cheer in high school, thank you. You make the world a bit sunnier everyday. Petite, feminine and uber cute, this clutch was designed around you. Y Ligne Clutch Bag in Blush ($1,050;


Tailored Sophistication

At YSL they don’t make handbags, they dictate refinement. For women who are serious about timeless design and want to make a statement of elegance, this bag speaks volumes. Structured, uniquely textured and in can-do-no-wrong black, this is a bag for chic women who kick ass and aren’t afraid to invest in a piece that will last forever. Sac de Jour by YSL ($3,950;

The Free Spirit

Crafted, Practical Beauty

It’s practical, it’s simple and sure enough, it does the job. It’s capable of taking a beating running around town with you on your errands. This particular beauty from Cuyana is designed for women who can appreciate the art of having fewer (and nicer) things but don’t need the extra flash factor. Leather Tote ($150;

Colorful, spontaneous and creative, Clare Vivier has designed a bag for women who like to march to the beat of their own drum, but love to shine in the spotlight as trendsetters. With this cute combo of fuchsia calfskin, tan leather and gold highlights, color blocking is translated into a fun clutch for year-round use. Who says winter has to be drab? Clare Vivier Colorblock Clutch ($220;

Vintage silk button up by Chaps ($42; Olive). Camel silk smock by Evens ($264; Olive). Long coin necklace ($128; Las Cruxes). Blue hat by Études ($308; Las Cruxes). Sandals by Charlotte Stone ($158; Olive).



photographer Tania Quintanilla wardrobe Graham Cumberbatch hair Robert Grimes makeup Kelsey James model Axie Andrews from Campbell Agency


Vintage Issey Miyake shirt dress ($550; Archive Vintage). Vintage Issey Miyake pants ($250; Archive Vintage).


Tunic dress by Miranda Bennett ($215; Olive). Blue hat by Études ($308; Las Cruxes).


Cream shorts by Issey Miyake (Archive Vintage). Bath House Tee by Mondo Mondo ($54; Las Cruxes). Vintage jacket by Thierry Mugler ($298; Archive Vintage). Grey duster by Dust & Drag ($198; Las Cruxes). Stone necklace (Las Cruxes). Long coin necklace ($128; Las Cruxes). Blue stone ring ($32; Las Cruxes). Coin ring ($115; Las Cruxes). Blue hat by Études ($308; Las Cruxes)


Vintage jacket by Issey Miyake ($298; Archive Vintage). Tunic dress by Miranda Bennett ($215; Olive).


Sheer dress by Dust & Drag ($198; Las Cruxes).


Grey crew kneck by John Varvatos ($118; Costar). Navy Kimono Tunic by Ali Golden ($136; Olive). Long coin necklace ($128; Las Cruxes).




Google DOES




orkplace wellness has increasingly become a high priority for companies around the globe. Studies have proven that having a wellness program in place, not only protect and promote employee health but also help reduce direct and indirect health care costs, absenteeism, avoid illness or injury, and improve the quality of work life and morale. Many tech industry companies offer a range of perks and benefits to attract and keep employees. Google is a global company that develops technology including web browsers, smart contact lenses, smartphones and social media apps that help people stay connected. They are recognized for having one of the best workplace wellness programs in the world. It was no wonder why Fortune named Google the 2014 “Best Company to Work For.” This marked their fifth time at the top of the list. With more than 70 offices in more than 30 countries, it’s hard to imagine that no two Google offices are exactly the same. And although each location is unique, they share the same familiar sense of employee appreciation.

Shot of the Google Campus in Dublin, masterplanned by the Swiss architecture studio Camenzind Evolution in collaboration with local firm Henry J. Lyons Architects.


In the past couple years, Google has gone the extra mile and hired social scientists to study the organization. People & Innovation Lab (PiLab) run numerous experiments with employees in an effort to scientifically answer questions about the most ideal way to manage a large firm. Their discoveries contributed to Google’s notable perks. Google is constantly searching for unique ways to improve the health and happiness of their employees. They continue to attract interest.


The majority of their locations offer a plethora of on-site benefits. Here are some of the many perks that are accessible to Google employees at Googleplex:


Above: Corporate Living Area inside Google’s Tel Aviv Campus. © Itay Sikoiski Right: Google offices in Amsterdam. Austin headquarters.

can receive massages from a licensed therapist in a private room.

SWIM-IN-PLACE SWIMMING POOLS These pools are narrow and not very long. Electric water pumps provide a strong current that flows in one direction. Employees swim against the current, staying in place within these small pools. Lifeguards are on duty to keep employees safe.

PING PONG, BILLIARDS OR FOOSBALL You can find game tables in several of the buildings on campus. There are also video games for employees who prefer to let their thumbs do all the work.

LAUNDRY FACILITIES available to employees on site. The company even offers dry cleaning services. It’s not unusual for Google employees to bring clothes in over the weekend to do laundry.

ON-SITE MEDICAL STAFF included with Google’s healthcare plan. If an employee feels ill or suffers an injury at work, he or she can make an appointment with a doctor at the Googleplex.

STANDING DESKS OR TREADMILL DESKS Employees have the opportunity to

burn extra calories while typing away on their laptops.


Shots of Google campuses in Dublin and Amsterdam.

GOOGLE HAS BEEN IN AUSTIN SINCE 2009, AND HAS PRAISED OUR CITY AS TECH SAVVY. Google has made the Internet more accessible to billions of people and is succinctly recognized as one of the best and most desirable places to work. They’ve had an office in Austin since 2009 and have praised our city for being tech savvy. “It’s a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital. We’re sure these folks will do amazing things with gigabit access and we feel privileged to have been welcomed to their community,” stated Milo Medin, Vice President, Access Services. Soon enough, Austin residents will have access to even more of Google, by way of Google Fiber. The service will provide 96 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

Austin with “gigabit” internet, which means download and upload speeds of 1,000 Mbps — something Google has said is “100 times faster” than competing broadband services. Austin will become the third US city, following Kansas City and Provo, Utah, to receive Google’s groundbreaking Internet service. Google fiber culminated from a goal to make the Web faster as well as more affordable, useful and relevant. During a post-event Google hosted call, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell reported that he believes Fiber will be a major driver for the city’s economy. Austin residents are awaiting the launch of Google Fiber as early as December 2014, shepherding phase two of what is expected to be a long-lasting and lucrative collaboration. VETTA

auSTIn ’S prEmIErE lIVE muSIC VEn uE

a gospel aCCorDing to Jazz Xmas KirK whalum, geralD alBright & sheléa

sun, dec 7

BlinD Boys of alaBama sun, dec 17

steve tyrell fri, jan 23

BJ thomas sun, feb 8

KeiKo matsui fri, feb 20

miChael martin murphey’s CowBoy Christmas Thu, dec 11

Beto & the fairlanes Christmas show sun, dec 21

gregg rolie sun, jan 25

hal KetChum fri, feb 13

the lettermen fri, feb 27

DaviD BromBerg

DaviD Benoit Christmas triBute to Charlie Brown

fri, dec 12

sun, dec 14

the manhattan transfer

Kenny g

saT, dec 27

Chieli minuCCi & speCial efX

Thu, jan 22

BlooD, sweat & tears

Thu, jan 29

the assoCiation saT, feb 14

saT, jan 31

george winston wed, feb 18 & Thu, feb 19

j u s t a d d e d sh ow

j u s t a d d e d sh ow

the marshall tuCKer BanD

BranforD marsalis

fri, apr 10

T I C K E T S : 8 8 8 . 6 1 6 . 0 5 2 2 • O nE W O r l d T h E aT r E . O r g VISIT Our WEbSITE fOr a COmplETE lISTIng Of all Our ShOWS

fri, apr 17



VETTA TASTEMAKERS by coral talavera photographed by tania quintanilla


RACHEL HORN This international design muse has called Austin home, while still operating out of her workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her rich design approach, worldly perspectives and exclusive clientele more than qualify this blond bombshell as one of our VETTA Tastemakers. Here’s why… hometown

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Austin

“Black and White. It’s my favorite combination for interiors and fashion. It’s crisp, clean and current. Though it’s a trend right now, it’s absolutely classic. I Love the extreme.” favorite trend

biggest inspiration “Travel. It’s all about the unexpected: The treasures I find, the people I meet and the wild experiences that happen are my greatest inspiration.”

“A stunning private residence on the Pacific Coast of Mexico called Isla Navidad. This project is a combination of every aspect of design I am passionate about. We did the architectural and interior design. We designed and built almost every piece of furniture, lighting and accessories for the project, all the way down to creating a set of one-of-a-kind dishware. It was the culmination of my entire life experience, expressed in design.” biggest professional accomplishment

personal milestone “Burning Man. It completely changed my life and shifted the way I think about both my personal life and career. To be exposed, physically and emotionally, in extreme conditions surrounded by thousands of people expressing their creativity totally blew my mind.  I didn’t make it out there this year and all I can say is that I really hope that never happens again.”

“A super sexy little hotel project on the East Side of Austin.”

next big project


ILIANA DE LA VEGA Recently recognized as the Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Iliana and her husband have established a great eatery on Rainy Street and have the set the bar high for local chefs with their ever-evolving El Naranjo. hometown Mexico City, the second largest city in the world, though I combined my childhood between DF and Oaxaca, where my family comes from.

“I think that the future of food rests in its past. We are going back to the roots, food that is natural, creative, and nurtures your body. Other than nurturing the body, I also think food should speak to the soul. Exceptional food should entice your memories, dishes that you will remember for a long time. As for a favorite ingredient, I love to work with chiles, not for their spiciness but for the unique flavors on each one.”

favorite trend

biggest inspiration “I think it is hard to have just one person who inspired you. First my Mom and my aunt, both amazing cooks. I’m also greatly inspired by Josefina Velázquez de León, who traveled all over Mexico learning and documenting the traditional and regional cuisines, and wrote over 100 cookbooks from 1930-1968, when she passed away. Another person that has inspired me is Chef Arnulfo Luengas, an Oaxacan native who studied French cuisine and then started using native Mexican ingredients and recipes, presenting them in fine dinning, when it was not customary to do that. Amazing chef and a humble person.” biggest professional accomplishment “I have a few. Opening two successful Mexican restaurants, one in Oaxaca and one here in Austin, as well as receiving the Ohtli award for bringing Mexican gastronomy to the USA. My work with the health and wellness of the Hispanic community is another big accomplish for me.”

“Forging my beautiful family. My husband for almost 30 years, Ernesto, and my two fabulous daughters, Ana and Isabel... and of course my 3 dogs.” personal milestone

“Keep doing what we love, Mexican food, and perhaps another restaurant...”

next big project


ROCHELLE RAE Say hello to one of the prettiest faces in Austin, but also one of the most well connected businesswomen. With an impressive resume in media and after her incredible journey to build her brand, Rochelle has grown into an Austin beauty institution. hometown

“Born in Springfield, Missouri but grew up in Kansas City, Missouri”

favorite trend “Right now my favorite trend is bright colored eyeshadow and liner. Christian Dior painted in Turquoise, Kenzo models were in cobalt blue, Chanel had silver and orange. My favorite was Jonathan Saunders smoky hot pink. I am usually a bronze and gold girl but this gave me inspiration, and on a recent trip to Europe I tried a different color every day. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed wearing bright shades.”

“My inspiration is my Mother. There is nothing she couldn’t do or figure out. She encouraged, supported and believed in me, even when I didn’t.”

biggest inspiration

biggest professional accomplishment “Creating an awesome cosmetics line on a shoestring budget and surviving. I often look to this quote to push me through, ‘It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.’ - Theodore Roosevelt.” personal milestone “Realizing life is short and that unfortunately, I only get one turn on this ride. Through travel, my boyfriend, Thomas has introduced me to a beautiful world I thought I might never have the chance to see. There is an amazing adventure waiting for me out there out there and I intend on living adventurously.”

“I just finished the big project of moving the Rae Cosmetics studio to the 2nd Street District. We are so excited to be downtown and are enjoying getting to know our new neighbors and hoping our longtime loyal friends will come downtown to visit as well. The next big projects include a skincare line for women and men, several new eyeshadow shades, and getting our waterproof liners out in the next couple months.”

next big project





ts name hails from historical ties to the Old Fitzgerald brand. It was long believed that Old Fitzgerald was named after a well-known distiller, but it was actually a reference to a taxman with a taste for bourbon. As a treasury agent, John E. Fitzgerald held a private set of keys to the warehouse and he would allegedly sneak into the rickhouse to pilfer sips for himself from the best barrels. Those barrels became known as “Fitzgerald barrels” as a tribute to his appreciation for great bourbon; his infamous actions inspired Larceny’s name. The Old Fitzgerald Bourbons were a combination all the best barrels around. With the pick-up from Van Winkle’s, Old Fitzgerald was immortalized. What made it unique was the mash bill that contained wheat, rather than the other grains which were used in recipes at the time. This provided a softer, rounder profile to the bourbon.


Today Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon is recognized as a tribute to the lawless John E. Fitzgerald and his impeccable taste in bourbon. Larceny is made of corn, wheat malted barley and rye mash. Once the grains are milled, they are cooked in the Kentucky limestone water. After fermentation, the bourbon is aged in honey barrels for six to twelve years. Once the aging process is complete, the bourbon is bottled at 92 proof. Steal a sip of Larceny for yourself and experience what John E. Fitzgerald discovered in the warehouse: a superior wheated bourbon with an unmatched smoothness—and a legend in the making.

Garnish: Lemon slice Glass: Collins


Whether you’re soaking up sun at the beach or need a refresher after a long day of work, this iced teaand-bourbon cocktail will put a new spring in your step. With just a hint of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, it’s the key to a great night. 1.5 oz Larceny Bourbon .75 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur .75 oz Fresh lemon juice 3 oz Iced tea (recommended: orange pekoe) .5 oz Simple syrup, optional


ULTIMATE SPIRITS CHALLENGE 2013 (93 points) WINE ENTHUSIAST (93 points) Named in Top 20 Spirits by SPIRIT JOURNAL Best Buy by WHISKEY MAGAZINE


713 Congress Ave.







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ESCAPE TO THE SUN Under Armour Eyewear: Ultra-light frames built from a combination of titanium & Grilamid for superior strength & flexibility. They block 100% of UVA, UVB & UVC rays, making them ideal for fishing, golf and many other activities. ( Shae Duffel Bag by Ora Delphine: This new, spacious nylon lightweight duffle makes a great weekender bag for a mini getaway. ( UV Skinz Women’s Maxi Cover-Up: A cover-up stylish enough for lunch on the boardwalk or a quick stop at on the way home. Offers UPF 50+ sun protection for peace of mind in the sun! Easy, soft, and fashionable, it flatters any body type. (

TRAVEL IN STYLE Sleeper Scarf: It’s the only travel innovative scarf with a built-in inflatable neck pillow, designed to discreetly and stylishly transport your inflatable neck pillow while traveling. Can be worn as an everyday accessory whether you’re at the airport or taking a break at work and they are also very affordable. ( | Taos Women’s Carousel Wedge Sandal: Comfortable Stylish for women who love to explore the world and are always on the go! Made in Portugal,100% Leather. ( Sorial Backpack in Eggplant: This backpack is so useful, and stylish! You can wear the functional silhouette 3 different ways; as a backpack, cross-body or a long shoulder. Made of beautiful vegan saffiano leather so that it is lightweight. Plenty of exterior compartments to hold all of your at hand necessities! As seen on Vanessa Hudgens! (


HI-TECH TRAVEL Bluesmart Luggage: The Bluesmart is designed to give modern travelers peace of mind: It connects wirelessly to your phone so that you can lock and unlock it, weigh it, track its location, be notified if you are leaving it behind and learn more about your travel habits. Plus it can re-charge your phone up to six times! You can now pre-order it at Indiegogo. ( Bheestie: A great gift for the gadget guru, Bheestie is a unique accessory that can save pricey tech gadgets in a water emergency. Invented by a mom who was tired of replacing her son’s expensive devices, Bheestie is essential to have on hand in case of a major water mishap. Anytime personal electronics get wet, Bheestie offers speedy recovery. ( Subtech Skin: The Subtech Dryskin Series enable you to use your phone no matter where you are or how extreme the conditions may be. (

NIFTY TOILETRIES Toothpaste 2 Go: Meet the most convenient and cost effective way to replenish travel toothpaste. If you’ve accumulated a collection of almost-empty travel-size toothpaste tubes, you’ll appreciate the genius of Toothpaste 2 Go. The special adapter attaches to a regular-size toothpaste tube so you can fill the included reusable tube whenever it runs low! ( FarmHouse Fresh Lotion: FarmHouse Fresh spoils hands with four new travel-sized companions to their heavenly bestselling body milk lotions, nourishing dry skin with a blend of light, hydrating oils, and soft natural scents. (

FOR THE GUYS T-Walker American Made Flannels: In 2012, inspired by adventure sports writer and filmmaker Tim Walker, the brand T-Walker was launched. From racing motorcycles on the Isle of Man, checking out the latest installation at the MOMA, or backcountry skiing in British Columbia, Tim needed a shirt that could be worn anywhere. The final result: A collection of rugged yet refined, 100% cotton shirts made from classic prints-with a slightly tailored fit. ( | Shave Tech: It’s the new standard in shaving, the only power source USB shaver on the market. Its sleek, non-electric charging design renders it easily portable for lightweight traveling. ( Tani Loungewear: A new collection for men of luxurious loungewear, ideal for active men who appreciate only the finest. Loft from Tani will keep men warm and dry in the colder temperatures while being active outdoors. The set retails for $295 and features hi-tech European materials. (



Hard Rock Hotel main entrance




hen VETTA was asked to cover the unveiling of the Bret Michaels suite at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Riviera Maya, the hardest choice was deciding what swimsuit to bring. Sandy beaches, an out-of-this-world resort and an international celebrity? I was so ready to get the star treatment (rock star treatment, that is); I jumped on the plane the next day and was at the doorstep of heaven in just hours. Greeted by a lovely staff, I quickly found myself sipping on cucumber lemonade, invigorated with a little wet towel as I waited to check in. Decked with an impressive Pinktober display in their lobby, the Hard Rock Hotel was as inviting and beautiful as I had imagined. From the Heaven lobby (Hard Rock Hotel’s adults’ section), I started my adventure… and so unfolds our Rock-On Weekend at the Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico.

MY ROOM IN HEAVEN As I walked inside my room, I found a note from the hotel, a bottle of wine, a basket of fruit and some chocolate and macaroons in the shape of a guitar. The room was a deluxe platinum sky terrace suite with a private balcony and a rooftop with a jacuzzi. Every morning I enjoyed watching the sunrise in the hammock that was on the balcony. It was calm and very relaxing, a world of difference from life in the city. I love how even the sheets of my bed had guitar shapes sewn in. Simple details that reminded me of my mission: to take an intimate tour of the new suite with Mr. Bret Michaels. To make my stay warmer, I even had a personal liquor dispenser in the room. Rock-on Riviera Maya!

AS VAN HALEN SUNG IT “A LITTLE BIT O’ HEAVEN RIGHT HERE ON EARTH” ESCAPE As I escaped from my room, I looked around and found this cute Van Halen quote displayed on one of the buildings adjacent to the clear water. It was great to get away and just tune into what the Hard Rock Hotel was offering me: a comfy chair next to a “palapa” on the VIP private beach, the beautiful white sand, the crystal clear water and of course the never-ending unlimited cocktails of my choice. I was particularly fond of the piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris. There was also the tranquil beauty of a natural sea cove – perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, and just plain relaxing along the warm Caribbean Sea. I sunbathed and then ended up joining the crowd by the pool to do some aquatic aerobics. It’s a shame Bret wasn’t there yet to join me… DINING WITH FLARE Hard Rock Hotel offers a variety of restaurants with endless menu choices. I had the opportunity to taste a truly unique experience, with exceptional fine dining menus as well as more casual in-room eating in. The first day I was transported to Italy for Lunch at the Ciao restaurant. The paintings and atmosphere made me feel like I was walking around the beautiful and timeless Italia. The food was exceptional and it was paired with an amazing glass of wine. To keep things international, I hopped on to Mexican fare at one of the restaurants in their Hacienda Lobby, Frida. It was a wonderful dinner with some fun tequila tastings… it was very festive, to say the least. One of my highlights was a frozen tamarind margarita with some regional specialty plates. “Que viva Mexico!”

Top: View of the colorful lobby. Left and bottom: The beautiful shore along the Riviera Maya.

The following morning, my first stop was breakfast (don’t worry, I did lots of stuff other than eating) at The Market, located in the Hacienda Section. I enjoyed a breakfast buffet with fresh and exotic ingredients from around the world before heading out to my excursions. For dinner, I traveled back to Spain with a variety of exotic and traditional tapas at La Cava Roja (reminiscent of the wonderful time I spent studying in Asturias). Queso Cabrales, paella and wine, I was in for a treat! VETTAMAGAZINE.COM 107

Interior shots of the impressive Rockstar Suite.

EXPLORING CANCUN As much as I enjoyed being inside the hotel and all its amazing amenities, it was time for me to explore the off beaten paths and meet the locals. I started by arranging a visit to the Tulum Mayan ruins, the archaeological site where the Pre-Colombian Mayan walled city lays, with ruins perched on a cliff top overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Among them, El Castillo (“The Castle”) is one of the most impressive buildings. Just to give the story a little bit of a History kick, the day that I visited or “discovered” Tulum, was also the day we celebrate Columbus day, a fellow explorer of new worlds. But I digress; let me get back to the experience… I walked around, made new friends on the excursion and walked around the beach. The best part about Tulum is learning about its history and also enjoying the incredible views. At the end of my tour I bought some souvenirs, traditional candies and pure vanilla. OFF THE BUCKET LIST After Tulum, I took it upon myself to fulfill a lifelong dream: to swim with dolphins. The driver was gracious enough to take me to Dolphin Discovery Riviera Maya – Puerto Aventuras. Undeniably, I really had to get out of my comfort zone. Wait, that’s an understatement. I can’t swim, so I was seriously scared. However, I had my little life vest, so I was somewhat confident. I decided to go for what they called the Royal Swim, which includes the famous foot push – two dolphins, (in my case Amaya and Jupiter) lift me by the soles of my feet above the surface. After that, I grabbed their dorsal fins as they sped me through the water, giving me an exhilarating and fun ride. I have to say I had a blast conquering my fear! My new buddies, Amaya and Jupiter, were especially cute: they gave me a kiss, a hug, a handshake and then


we danced together. Lastly, I also had the opportunity to make a quick stop by the 5th Ave. Shopping District. I loved seeing the cute stores and buying handmade items from local artisans. BRET MICHAELS PENTHOUSE TOUR It was time to move on to the main attraction, Mr. Bret Michaels and his amazing suite. VETTA got the exclusive tour of the iconic Bret Michaels inspired Penthouse Suite, and the best part, with Bret Michaels in it. He was there to humor us and to give us a tour around what he called “his home”. This is the first-ever artist branded Rock Star Suite of their collection, and one of the largest suites in the world with over 9,000 square feet. Bret Michaels personally worked hand in hand with the Hard Rock Design Studio and Tandem

Design Team, and was heavily involved in the design of the opulent space, which is fun yet functional. Frank Maduro, Vice President of Marketing for the all-inclusive collection added: “We wanted to partner up with someone who not only is iconic, but that will be hands on. Every single detail was considered. It is not only a name on the wall but truly someone that was involved.” The rock star branded suite, which was unveiled in an exclusive press conference, has 2 King bedrooms with a private terrace, 2 full baths, 2 half baths, a living room, dining room, a complete kitchen, a premium bar, private screening room, raised dance floor, inspirational quotes, Camaro-converted billiard table, a cowboy hat display, and bandana-influenced ceiling décor to showcase the famed rocker’s individuality.

Above: The custom built Camaroconverted billiard table. Right: Bret smashing his guitar after his unplugged performance.

We could appreciate all the authentic memorabilia and personal items that belonged to Bret Michaels, including a large display case showcasing the rock star’s original “Hollywood Taxi” motorcycle as well as the “Every Rose” guitar. Bret told VETTA that his favorite element in the suite was the decked out bike. He also was very excited about his photo booth and encouraged me to take a picture in it! Bret Michaels, who is a lifelong Type 1 diabetic, is motivated by health and fitness, which explains why there is a state of the art fitness center within the suite. The Bret Michaels Rock Star Suite is topped off with an over the top DJ booth and accompanying sound system located on the suite rooftop to entertain guests. Other great and entertaining perks include: Blue Ray player, Xbox 360 Kinect, an 80” flat screen TV, selection of in-room guitars from PICKS, aromatherapy, beach bag and hangover kit (of course). As if that weren’t enough, there is exclusive 24-hour room service and Mini Bar in each room, Nightly turndown service, private check-in, early check-in, and late checkout. Oh, and the rooftop of the suite is a full terrace area with hot tub, fire pit and plenty of places to lounge under the Mexican sun. Truly a Rock Star experience.

THE SUITE FEATURES OVER 9,000 SQUARE FEET CHOCKFULL OF HARD ROCK MEMORABILIA. Michaels also told VETTA, “Hard Rock Hotel is making sure guests have a great time, while at the same time trying to make a difference”, and they surely were, through their participation in the Pinktober breast cancer awareness fundraiser initiative, hence the pink bed sheets. True to form, Bret Michaels finished off the inauguration with a traditional guitar smash. He then signed the guitar pieces and placed them in a case in the living room area. UNPLUGGED PERFORMANCE After the penthouse tour, we were all ready to rock on with Bret Michaels. We headed to Heaven lounge. He played an exclusive unplugged, acoustic performance to celebrate the Rock Star Suite’s official debut, including one of his hits “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. All the girls were officially swooning. The crowd went crazy! He also sang his version of “Sweet Home Alabama” with his highly contagious energy. However, it has to be said that Bret is such a humble, down-to-earth guy, stopping to chat with the audience, taking pictures and signing autographs. RELAXATION As a last treat to myself, the final day in paradise was all about relaxation and

escaping to my total rockstar zen. I revisited all my adventures sitting by the water, bathing in the sun. My trip could not be over without spending some time at my personal paradise, Rock Spa. It’s the largest spa in the Caribbean, with 75 treatment rooms. I enjoyed a hydrotherapy session, which featured steam rooms, hydrotherapy current pools, lavish surroundings and even a personal spa butler to bring you straight to heaven. The highlight of this spa indulgence was experiencing the rhythm and motion rock spa massage - synchronicity. The massage therapist utilized greatest hits from yesterday and today for this treatment, which taps into memories to create an experiential journey, synchronized with a performance of techniques, pressure and rhythm. The massage is infused with a choice of natural organic essential oils to reduce stress, ease muscle tension, and detoxify. Each treatment connects the healing power of music with the artistry of massage therapy. A testament to Hard Rock’s standing as a global institution of rock culture, we learned that Hard Rock was more than a vacation spot, but truly a piece of heaven, a lifestyle that anyone could get used to…This is Hard Rock! VETTA VETTAMAGAZINE.COM 109


BEYOND SKIN by olga maria czarkowski



E Above and top right: Works from Senen Llanos’ Skin collection. To the right: A candid portrait of the artist.

merging artist Senen Llanos is a self-taught photographer making a splash in New York City. The artist began experimenting with photography while studying computer science at the University of Puerto Rico. He easily picked it up as a hobby from his Cuban father, but Llanos truly grasped the power behind an image after the death of a close friend. This experience was the catalyst that turned this habitual snapper into a passionate photographer, driven to experiment for days on end to achieve a desired effect. The only son of three children, and adored by his sisters, he is drawn to female subjects. His interest lies in both the form and in projecting the subjects’ personal energy through color and movement. His love of technology and background in computer science are evident in his work; he digitally manipulates his photographs to produce a painterly aesthetic. He’s learned from, and been inspired by, the works of various contemporary photographers such as Joe McNally, Dave La Chappelle, and Bjorn Oldsen. However, it is in the work of Howard Schatz that one perceives as a direct influence. In 2011, Llanos was awarded the top prize in New York Dance Parade Photography Contest. He will be exhibiting his series Skin in late August 2013 at Michael Reslan Atelier. He currently lives and works in New York City. VM: WHY PHOTOGRAPHY AND NOT OTHER MEDIUMS? SL: “Since I can remember I’ve been in love with photography. First it was just exploring and trying to capture the moment. Later as I studied light it became more about me creating something. Having a camera lets me interpret light, motion and texture moments in a unique way. It’s the medium I’ve practiced and I’m in love with it. In a way, I believe that people adopt whatever tools they have at their disposal. Since we’ve had paint available for thousands of years, we naturally flowed towards painting.

It’s only very recently in humanity’s history that we’ve had digital tools available to us. As they progress I’m sure a lot more artists will gravitate to them.” VM: WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU? SL: “I am inspired by everyday people that are driven to follow their dreams. Lately, I’ve found Instagram to be a huge source of inspiration.” VM: DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF MORE OF AN ARTIST OR A PHOTOGRAPHER? SL: “This is actually a really good question and it’s a definition I struggle with myself. All my life I’ve been a photographer, working for other people and trying to make a living with it, but in these last years I’ve embraced the artistic side of me, dedicating as much time as possible to creating my own photography art pieces. It’s been the most rewarding work of my life and has made everyday a new challenge. If I were to say, I’m all parts photographer and all parts artist.” VM: WHEN DID YOU FIRST DECIDE TO EXPERIMENT WITH SKIN AS A CANVAS? SL: “I started experimenting with water in early 2003. My then girlfriend would be my test subject as I spent hours playing with the camera, pouring water on her trying to create a look I had seen online. Later that VETTAMAGAZINE.COM 111

With water, paint, dust and other materials, Llanos uses the human body as an interesting canvas.

year I started experimenting with led lights to create color, immediately gravitating towards contrasting colors like blue/red.” VM: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR COLORS FOR A SHOOT? SL: “Every color I use is very deliberate, many times chosen specifically for the model. I feed off their energy and try to bring a little something of it in the images. Sometimes my colors are a representation of the energy the model gives me… sorrowful blue, energetic green, Happy pink, confident yellow, etcetera.” VM: HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE BEAUTY? SL: “Beauty is a complicated subject. Physical beauty is only skin-deep yet we tend to give it more attention than we should. It’s nice to look at, but unless there’s substance behind the skin, it feels empty. Real beauty I feel has a lot to do with the energy a person gives off, their motivations and how they affect everyone around them. One of my 112 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

models and close friends has a beautiful smile and she is a very gorgeous woman, however it is once you go through that layer that you realize the incredible person that is hiding beneath. She can have her world crumbling around her and will still take time to motivate people. She refuses to take the easy way out and will work hard to help people. That is real beauty. That’s someone I want to capture.” VM: HOW DID YOU END UP WORKING IN THE BIG APPLE? SL: “I actually never chose New York, the city chose me. Back in 2011, I was in a tough financial situation and was lucky enough to be offered a job in the city. It was extremely scary but I decided to roll the dice and risk it all for the pursuit of my passion. Two years later I’m now convinced this was the best decision of my life.” VM: WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING IN? SL: “Right now I’m working on a series

called “The Pretty Martian Women”. It’s a work in progress that’s evolving as I shoot. I’m also still working on my ever-evolving Skin series, exploring the relationship between paint, skin and water. I’ve also taken a liking to doing traditional abstract canvas paintings.” VM: WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE? SL: “I want to do another small series based from Skin, with a theme towards cancer awareness. After that I will continue with a different direction. I don’t think I will ever stop experimenting with Skin, it’s the subject I find most interesting of course!” VM: ANY ADVISE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION IN YOUR FIELD? SL: “Hang out with people that intimidate you creatively. Always seek out to compete against yourself, never against your peers. Don’t ignore trends but also don’t blindly follow them, and always push to create. That’s what truly fulfills an artist.” VETTA

A Happy New Year all Year Long (continued from page 60)

What? He explained he was sitting in the dark, at 5am, as he had practiced since a little boy, breathing and letting go. Then, out of nowhere, he started to think about how much traffic was going to be on the highway that day. He thought he should request having the car service come 15-20 minutes earlier than planned. After sharing this, he looked out over the 30,000 people in the stadium and smiled with a gigantic pause. Then in a wonderful, self-deprecating way he blurted out, “Here I am, I’m His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, having thoughts about traffic during mediation!” His belly laugh rippled out over the crowd as they roared with reflective laughter. Then, this simple monk, exiled far from his Tibetan homeland, responded with the key takeaway here (paraphrasing): “I just noticed my mind chatter about the car service was distracting me and I let it fall away. I simply returned to my breathing, my meditation. That is the practice. So I suggest to you as a recommendation…simply return to your practice.” Sage advice. Notice the Dalai Lama didn’t frame it as messing up, doing it wrong, being bad, or not good enough. There is no perfect! It is simply the practice of closing the gap between drifting, noticing, and presencing again. This too has been a touchstone of my learning, and believe me, I can recount some real life doozies this past year of some pretty funny blunders and self-induced distractions. Ironically, for this I am grateful. All of those experiences make up who I am, and become a foundation for my learning and expansion. So as the New Year approaches, reflect on what was, what is, and your intentions– what do you want your life to be. Ask yourself “now what?” and don’t get caught up on any perceived setbacks or imperfections. Incorporate wonder, curiosity, and small action steps into your expansion practice. Get committed to that. Most importantly, don’t forget to make that selfdiscovery easy and super fun. Remember, you really can have a Happy New Year all year long. VETTA

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SPOT YOURSELF in our social shots and you could win an amazing prize! Just send us an email to AUSTINSOCIAL@VETTAMAGAZINE.COM with your name and the event you were shot in, and you’ll be eligible to receive exclusive prizes and service certificates. Want to double your chances? Tag yourself in our Social Media pages and get free tickets and VIP access to our most exclusive soirees. Go to VETTAMAGAZINE.COM to see our full list of prizes and eligible events.

VICTORY CUP We had such a blast at this year’s Victory Cup! “Boots and pearls” was not just the dress code; it set the tone perfectly for – dare we say – Austin’s casual sophistication. Save the date for next year’s match, Oct 24th. (Photos by Dinesh Selvaraj, Design Realm.)


POP AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL ART SHOW Maybe the hippest gathering this season, POP Austin proved to be a flawless fusion of international art and ATX lifestyle. We had a blast at the opening reception on Oct 17th at Fair Market, which served as the kickoff for the annual three-day, interactive art show. (Photos by Tico Mendoza, Studio Invitro.)


PARTY AT ACQUAVILLA On October 30th, this breathtaking waterfront property served as the stage for Blu at the W’s fabulous pre-party. Beautiful VIPs came together for a night of style, car-loving fun and music, with none other than the lovely and uber talented Ginger Leigh. The party also commemorated a very special day: acclaimed architect and artist Winn Whitman’s birthday!

PARTY WITH MCLAREN AT TRACE This majestic piece of machinery was literally a traffic-stopping attraction at this year’s McLaren Party at Trace, W Hotel. Big hugs to McLaren’s Motorsport and Heritage Operations Manager, Keith Holland, for his lovely visit to Austin.


MYYACHT CLUB Our buddy, Nicholas Frankl, has done it again! Intimate, upscale and FUN, My Yacht Club returned to Ballet Austin for their exclusive two-day event. Their champagne-drenched signature event is perhaps Austin’s favorite international F1 experience, with high-end guests from basically everywhere around the world.

BLU AT THE W Thanks to Ginger, Linda, Holly, our special guest Keanu, and everyone who made sure that Blu at the W was – yet again – a huge success. On Halloween night, Austin had a blast at the W Hotel, celebrating the thrills of F1 weekend in this high-style threeday event. Can’t wait for next year!


CASINO NIGHT On November 14th, VETTA was all in at this year’s Casino Night, benefitting LEAP for Lifeworks at Trinity Hall. It was a night of yummy cocktails, high-energy games, and sequins, Vegas-style!




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1. District: Owner Amir Hajimaleki is passionate about quality food and partnering with local farms and businesses, with a mission to bring his patrons only the best ingredients. “Our motto is to source the absolute freshest to create something delicious, alongside a perfectly made cocktail, a craft beer or a glass of wine.” Located in South Austin, District Kitchen + Cocktails delivers yummy New American Cuisine. (512-351-8436;

convenient Austin locations. Take advantage of all of the healing benefits for both mind and body, with a 60-minute hands-on session for only $46 (only for first time customers; other restrictions apply). (

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4. Las Cruxes: A truly unique shopping experience, Las Cruxes in an exciting local platform to explore music, art and culture. See their distinctively curated mix of images, apparel, art and other creative expressions through their fun website. (

7. Edward Gordon: Having worked with some of Austin’s top architects, Edward Gordon offers custom building solutions for Austin’s most exclusive clients. Whether it’s a contemporary dwelling, a property full of character or an ambitious renovation, the Edward Gordon team will take on the challenge. Start envisioning your dream space and work only with the best builder. Call for a consultation today. (512-473-8489;

2. Longhorn Racing Academy: Porsche. Lamborghini. Corvette. GT-R. These legendary names have been dominating the road and the track for decades; now it’s your turn to get behind the wheel of these mythical machines and discover their limits… and yours. Gift cards from the Longhorn Racing Academy make the most fun Holiday Present! (512-983-4976;

5. Zoltan David: Make this holiday season one to remember with an unmistakable piece of fine jewelry from Zoltan David. Whether you or your loved one are craving a pair of stunning diamond earrings, a dramatic custom ring or a show-stopping necklace, make sure to visit this fine jeweler at their Hill Country Galleria location. (512-372-8888;

3. Massage Harmony: Escape the stress and demands of the city, while taking control of your health and wellness. Massage Harmony is an affordable, upscale massage spa with three

6. The Gossett Group: This amazing real estate trio from Austin Portfolio, lead by broker Leslie Gossett, specializes in luxury real estate and custom homes, built in the highest taste.


8. Rachel Madorsky: If you are looking for help with your relationship or if you would like to feel more fulfilled, relaxed and at peace with yourself, call Rachel. Though you may not feel it right now, you can have more of what you truly want and less of what you don’t. Therapy doesn’t have to be complicated; you’ll quickly find out. (512-415-2896;



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9. Design Lab: Celebrating, the best designers in Texas, Design Lab is a place where our designers are celebrated and promoted along with their products. The store features jewelry, men’s, women’s and children’s apparel; leather goods, shoes and boots, accessories, hats, cosmetics and more. Stop by The Oasis today! (512-382-6643;

12. Andrew Long: “How can I become the person I want to be or know I am?” That question is the beginning of the journey, and once asked, can hardly be ignored. Strategic coaching helps you identify your self-imposed obstacles, their origins, and how to efficiently move through them in real-time. (512-450-1045;

10. Denise Bell Skincare: Discover the best in clinical, organic and luxury products for the best skin of your life. As an experienced esthetician, Denise will bring you cutting-edge products and procedures to rejuvenate your skin or address your specific needs. (512-784-3044;

13. TX Real Estate People: This hip new real estate firm has just opened its doors downtown and is ready to serve Austin’s elite clientele, whether you are looking to sell or buy residential, commercial or ranch property. This top-notch brokerage brings the knowledge and passion only 3rd and 5th generation Texans can offer. (512-436-8160;

11. Mulberry: It’s a well-known wine bar and New American style restaurant in the heart of downtown Austin. It has received praise for its unique cozy atmosphere, carefully prepared cuisine, and an expertly curated wine list. Come in for a yummy dinner or for a glass of rich wine at this stylish venue on the corner of 3rd and Nueces. (512-320-0297;

14. Salon U: Each of their handpicked stylists has been trained with extensive color and cutting courses and more importantly, time behind the chair. You won’t go wrong with our trained hands in our favorite canvas: your hair! Receive star treatment at their Lakeway location, including lashes, extensions, makeup and more! (512-266-4010;

15. Platinum Realty: Forget everything you know about real estate service. Platinum Realty is an Austin real estate team that is redefining what it means to go “above and beyond”.  Everyone needs a friend in the real estate business who has the knowledge, dedication and integrity you can count on. This is what they do and love! Ring or email to see how they can help with your next luxury real estate hunt. (512-477-0360; 16. Winn Whitman Architecture: Recognized and featured in countless national media outlets, Winn Whitman is one of Austin’s top architects, thanks to his uncompromised vision of innovation and sleek aesthetics. Behind some of Austin’s most notable multi-million dollar properties, Winn and his team are ready to start working on your high-style dwelling and materialize your heart’s desires. Call for a free consultation. (512-630-2724;




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21 19 17. Rae Cosmetics: High performance makeup, mesmerizing color or convenient kits for everyday use, you’ll find it all at Rae Cosmetics. Centrally located on 2nd Street, Rochelle Rae and her talented staff will meet you for an in-depth consultation or a fabulous beauty appointment. Get ready to shine at your next big event. Goft cards are available. ( 18. Pure Gold Realty: Chad, Tina and the winning team at Pure Gold Realty are not only your go-to property experts; they are true rock stars! Conveniently located on 6th Street, Pure Gold Realty’s CEO Chad Goldwasser proudly boasts an incredible proven record of success and sales, and his team will surely deliver outstanding results in your next real estate venture. ( 19. Sikara & Co: Sikara is a modern fusion of jewelry, travel and love for life. Every piece in their chic downtown boutique is a reflection of founder Mousumi Shaw’s life as a first generation Indian-American and her travels to over 40 countries. Gift cards are available. (512-565-9504; 122 VETTAMAGAZINE.COM

20. CROMA Communications: Your next campaign needs to be cohesive, creative and competitive; let the experts put it together. With cutting-edge services and award winning online and offline revenue generating strategies, many clients in Austin have already discovered why CROMA simply works. With turnkey PR, Marketing, Web, Design, Social Media and Branding solutions, CROMA will design a smart, cost-effective campaign that will surely catapult your brand onto the spotlight. Call today for a free quote. (512-819-1683; 21. Fleur de Nuite Boutique: Now open at The Domain! Exquisite lingerie from across the globe comes together under one roof: Fleur de Nuite Lingerie Boutique. Experience sensuality, the finest textiles and chic designs through their beautiful selection of in-stock and custom made pieces. Love isn’t blind, so turn yourself into a flower of the night. Gift cards are available. ( 22. We Olive: This chic venue provides a relaxed atmosphere and a gateway to fresh, artisan olive oils and flavorfully unique balsamics. Customers

can enjoy artisan wines, local microbrews, and Small Bites menu with friends and family. A wide array of custom presents are available, as well as rich experiences for corporate gifting. ( 23. By George: For the past 35 years, By George has offered a unique shopping experience in their three Austin stores: the Flagship location on Lamar, with men’s and women’s shops housed under one roof, and a woman’s boutique on renowned South Congress. Now you don’t have to travel all the way to Austin to shop, as their virtual storefront now serves as an extension of the distinctive boutique experience. ( 24. Found Boutique: FOUND is a purveyor of beautiful, high-quality clothing and accessories. Driven by the belief that a woman should look forward to getting dressed, FOUND carries lines that truly inspire. You’ll find timeless fashion with an unexpected twist at their renovated bungalow in downtown Austin. Stop by and look fabulous this holiday season. (512-322-9494;


Ferrari of Austin Sporty, elegant, versatile: that’s the Ferrari California. Since the 1950’s, in fact, this particular model has been the Prancing Horse’s finest embodiment of all three characteristics. Now, however, the new California T adds a radical innovation to that honourable tradition whilst still retaining the model’s highly renowned versatility. The T in its moniker refers, of course, to the development of a new 8-cylinder turbo engine that combines reduced emissions and fuel consumption with exeptional performance underscored by blistering pick-up due to zero turbo lag and a torque curve that adapts to suit each gear change. Equally, the retractable hard top transforms the California T from a chic coupé into a sleekly sophisticated spider in a mere 14 seconds. A refined semi-aniline leather-trimmed cabin also offers the modualr spaces of the signature 2+2 configuration and underscores the car’s extraordinary versatility. Ferrari of Austin invites you to discover the mystic of the Prancing Horse.

For more information, contact your authorized Ferrari dealer: Ferrari of Austin 4108 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78756 Telephone: +512.380.0231 ©2014 Ferrari North America, Inc. All rights reserved.

VETTA December / January 2015