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January 20, 2014
January 04, 2014
Everything about this unusual art project is amazing. In case you have not seen the meme floating about on Facebook, Russian photographer Murad Osmann documents being led around the world by his girlfriend Nataly Zakharova in a series of fascinating images. I believe the reason we connect with the photos is that we each fall into one of these roles on a trip... the enthusiastic leader or the one being (un)willingly pulled along. I'm certainly guilty of tugging at Mr. Venti's arm and ushering him on to the next great thing ahead both on a jetsetting journey and off.
And can we all share a moment for her attention to detail on the manicures? Each closeup of her nail art is more impressive than the next. By comparison, her rear view has been given a welcome upgrade since the first installment of photographs. Here her sartorial fabulousness, yoga-toned frame and chameleon-like transformation in relation to the locale wows us in every frame. Open-back dresses, embellished gold jeans and beaded gowns delight the eyes. And, oh yes, the famous sights and scenery are spectacular as well.
As you might imagine, I would love to create a series of photos like this. Wouldn't we all? It seems so. The globetrotting duo has sparked a desire in all of us to see the world and document the journey in like-minded photos. You can follow the movement here, but be sure to see the first installment to get a sense of the duo's progression. This simple concept is lovely indeed, both for us as spectators and for the romantic couple as a visual trail of their adventures.
So I ask you... as you move through life, do you envision yourself as the leader or the one being led? When you see these images, which role do you instantly relate to? I believe the knee-jerk response tells us everything.
I see these strong photographs and giggle inside, as I am without a doubt the long-haired girl, pulling along everyone who will come on my life journey with me. Some let go as soon as they have the opportunity out of fear of being thrilled and delighted by life, perhaps the sun shining on their face is too bright for them. Or perhaps their life journey is leading them eslewhere. Others along the way cling to my hand as though their very existence depended upon it... hoping energy and enthusiasm rub off on them.
The most enjoyable companions are the ones who gaily skip beside you, bounding from one great life spectacle to the next. These special souls are our very closest friends, our lovers, the key players in our life with whom we are equally yoked. When you find these special individuals, skip along side them and cherish each moment. They are special and to be celebrated and enjoyed.
Which type are you? Which kind of individual would you like to be? It's never, ever too late to decide to be more bold or more adventurous. Decide today to forge a path that others want to follow. And don't ever, ever look back.
October 29, 2013
Isn't it every fashion lover's dream to see the private homes of those behind the labels we covet? Just how does Manolo start his day? Does Rosita Missoni surround herself in patterns or live within a calm sea of neutral solids? Beyond Chic by Ivan Terestchenko gives us a backstage pass to the homes of Azzedine Alaïa, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gilles Defour and many others.
While the studious among you will recognize Christian Louboutin's home on the banks of the Nile and Reed Krackoff's elegant (and eccentric) Manhattan apartment due to Elle Decor's fabulous coverage, most of the designers found in this book lead more private lives away from the spotlight.
Armani's featured home was delightful and Coco's apartment is of course a treat, but it was the Palazzo Pucci belonging to Laudomia Pucchi in Florence that made me want to pack up my belongings and invest in a one way ticket to Italy. It is... everything. Eighteenth-century frescoes, a terrace looks over the Duomo and gilt finishes dot the landscape of the property. It is in a word: heaven.
The upper floor, of course, oozes modern living. Gae Aulenti created a masterpiece of glass, aluminum and seductively shaped furnishings that somehow make you think anything is possible in this life (because of course it is) if you'll only get out of your own way. It is in such contrast to the Renaissance-era furnishings below that it blows your mind.
Surprises like this fill the book and keep you turning the page for more. Each chapter offering a new story, a new celebrity and a deeper look into how others live their lives behind closed doors.
Beyond Chic is everything you want a coffee table book to be. It is rich in visual storytelling, filled with famous faces and dotted with cherished possessions. The book extends what feels like a private invitation from wildly successful people in the business of chic. They seem to beckon you in with open arms and reveal their hidden worlds to you without saying a word, all from the pages of this magnificent book. This is surely one for the gift list for that special someone on your list.
September 15, 2013
Ahhhh... escape. Isn't that all any of us can ask for? We work hard. We need to play hard as well. For me, travel is the cure for all that ails me. I need to visit new places, see unseen lands, meet new faces and experience new things. Travel replenishes the soul and fills me with a love of life and a desire to be, go and do even more. What about you?
If you share my thirst for seeing the world, brace yourself. Starwood Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Life in a Venti Cup to give you the best gift of all: an escape. This high-end hotel company owns nine major players in the travel industry including St. Regis, W and Westin brands - not to mention their uber chic Luxury Collection properties.
Now that I have your full attention, I'll tell you how you can enter to win a getaway. All you need to do is leave a comment sharing why you love to travel. That's it! The winner of the Starwood + Venti Cup Luxe Escape Giveaway will receive 16,000 Starpoints which can be used towards your stay at any applicable Starwood property.
How far will 16,000 Starpoints go? How about a free night at the sophisticated St. Regis Houston? Or an overnight stay at the ridiculously hip W Dallas Victory boasting Bliss® Spa and Texas-sized mega suites? Perhaps you're headed to Aspen or Atlanta. Never fear, there's a Starwood property that awaits you.
So... what are you waiting for? Drop a comment below or on the Venti Cup facebook page sharing your passion for travel (and if I were you I'd also become a Starwood Preferred Guest.) That's it! Entries accepted from now until September 30, 2013 at midnight CST. Winner to be selected at random from qualifying entries.
The Starwood + Venti Cup Luxe Escape Giveaway winner will be announced October 1, 2013.
Good luck, vacation lovers!
**Note: winner will receive 16,000 Starpoints good at participating Starwood Hotels & Resorts. How you spend your precious points is up to you! See details here. Pro tip: visit the web sites of the properties that appeal to you and determine which rooms are available to you using your Starpoints.**
September 14, 2013
Last weekend we had the pleasure of staying at a very special Starwood Hotel & Resort property. It is near and dear to us because we pass this expansive property every day. It is on the edge of our neighborhood and is enveloped by the nearby country club golf course. Dallas, as you may know, is flat as a pancake and dry as a bone. Not the makings for natural beauty, right? But our little corner of big D is home to rolling hills, mature trees, sparkling lakes and sweeping vistas. It is, quite simply, magical.
The Westin Stonebriar is positioned to take advantage of these natural assets. It is situated on a hilltop affording it breathtaking views of the golf course, adjacent upscale neighborhoods and (my personal favorite) beautiful sunsets.
Saturday we had the rare opportunity to stay in the Chairman's Suite at this property. Hello, luxury! Trust me when I tell you, even by Texan standards, this was the most generously sized suite I've ever seen. 2,184 square feet to be exact. After entering the foyer (yes, foyer) you enter a living room with fireplace and amazing views of the view beyond the balony. To the left, an office & dining room await. Did I mention it also contains a complete kitchen? And to the right you pass through double doors to enter a bedroom boasting an en suite master bath that would make Zsa Zsa Gabor gasp. The best feature? The balcony. This beautiful outdoor terrace was so large it could double as a yoga studio. Amazing!
God is in the details, of course, and that's where The Westin Stonebriar shines. Their attentive staff balanced an on-site wedding Saturday evening and a bustling Sunday morning brunch like pros. Their smiling faces were on hand to attend to guest's needs at every turn. We even had a craving for chocolate chip cookies that evening and were treated to a plate of the most delicious freshly baked cookies I can recall eating. Simply fabulous.
What did we love best? It's hard to pin down. This particular property sits in a golden location. It is located on the edge of Plano's corporate HQ zone, making it ideal for business travelers. But for those on vacation and luxury seekers like myself it is a five minute drive to high-end shopping, novelty boutiques, world-class restaurants, busy nightlife options and anything your pretty little heart desires. We love, love, love the location. It's precisely why we live nearby!
On the other hand, those looking to "stay in" can luxuriate by the pool (which offers solicitous attendants taking orders from bronzed sunbathers enjoying summer's last days), indulge in one of the property's restaurants, bars and cafes or enjoy room service. The fitness center rivaled my local Lifetime Fitness (honestly, it was so high-end that I asked if it was possible to pay for membership to their gym. Alas, this fitness mecca is for hotel property guests only). Golf your thing? Lucky you, Stonebriar Country Club is just outside with two championship 18-hole golf courses and 8 tennis courts.
And though we didn't travel far for the experience, we were not alone. It turns out the hotel is a favorite of many in the adjacent neighborhoods. Families regularly come for the weekend and many are regulars for the outstanding Sunday brunch scene. We personally enjoyed this Starwood property so much that we've already booked a room for family coming down to Dallas next week. Its location is unrivaled and the warm southern hospitality simply can't be topped.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because you could enjoy rock star treatment at a Starwood property yourself - on the house. Life in a Venti Cup is partnering with Starwood Hotels & Resorts to offer one lucky Venti Cup reader a free getaway. Details will be provided tomorrow when this exciting giveaway begins. Until then, start plotting your own getaway!
September 01, 2013
Oh, dear readers... do I have a sumptuous treat for you! I've just had the pleasure of reading Kathe Lison's book "The Whole Fromage" - and what a delectable treat it is. If you are unable to travel through France this fall on a culinary adventure, I ask you to read this book. It will delight your senses and awaken within you a desire to be more passionate about food, about life and about the world. I cannot say enough great things about this beautifully written book.
Is it a book about cheese? Yes. It most certainly is a book about cheese. French cheese. From the sublime to the far out, this is a book the indulges in the pursuit of the perfect fromage. But it is a book about so much more than that. It's about the pursuit of pleasure, of observing the subtleties within a culture and an individual. It's written so vividly that you might believe you too are standing in a cavernous barn in the south of France sampling a rare variety.
You needn't love Roquefort to appreciate the adventure within these pages. It is instead a spectacular read for anyone who delights in the idea of exploring their passions and exploring the rarified world of French cheese. You'll find yourself entranced by the visits to small farms, tiny villages and insights into the art of this particular culinary delicacy. It will awaken your interest in the art form that is the creation and the craft behind artisan foods, whether widely known or obscure. It's a book ripe for anyone with a passion for food and for knowledge and the pursuit of the best. And isn't that shared by all of us?
So now that I've gushed about it, I am prepared to offer you a copy of your own. Tell me, dear friends, what are you passionate about? Is it Greek mythology? Pre-renaissance history? Labradoodles? Gardening? Sculpture? Lomo photography? What is it that ignites the fire within you? Please tell me. Tell me in detail, generous, unabashed detail. Gush all you want.
Winner will be receive a fresh copy of this delicious book. To qualify, please submit your comment by September 14th at midnight CST on this blog post or the corresponding Facebook post. One lucky commenter will be drawn at random from qualified entries. Now... start offering up your inner passions!*** NOTE: Ann McDonald has won the random drawing! Thank you to all who entered! The Whole Fromage is available here for purchase. It's a lovely book that you're sure to enjoy! ***
April 26, 2013
April 08, 2013
The list grows longer daily, doesn't it? Now I have a craving to see the Caspian Sea from the comfort of my impossibly shiny room at the Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel in Baku.
Where exactly is this, you ask? I've provided a map in addition to the jaw dropping photos. Suffice it to say it's a long way from home, which only adds the the allure.
But let's pause for a moment to admire that glistening entry corridor with shimmering chandeliers and metallic wall sculpture. It's mesmerizing, which is likely par for the course for a luxury hotel such as this.
From standalone cottages to perfectly appointed rooms, this beautiful hotel property shines bright like a diamond.
See more amazing properties at Kiwi Collection...
November 28, 2012
As the holidays approach I begin to think about people, places and things that I love. While its natural to spend Christmas with the family at home, I dream of relocating our fete to a faraway destination. Rome for the holidays? Why not. Paris for New Years? Sounds brilliant. It combines the people I adore with the cities I love. But...convincing your entire family to agree is another story. A girl can still dream, can't she? ;)
In the meantime I'll let this lovely snowy photo take me on a mental vacation. Ciao, bella!
September 07, 2012
The beautiful Casa Talia Resort Hotel in Sicily. Seems I've found the sudden need to encourage my husband to reconnect with his Sicilian relatives!
August 24, 2012
Planning your Labor Day getaway? Here are a few swanky hotels known for their solicitous waitstaff.
July 31, 2012
I don't want to be a total buzzkill, but summer will at some point come to an end. That means those pretty espadrilles and sparkly flip flops must be neatly tucked away for a season or two. Not to worry... fall means skinny jeans, fabulous jackets and pretty pumps. First on my list of needs is this uber neutral pair of Jimmy Choo "Shaw" patent leather pumps. Peeptoe, of course, as my little toes still crave the fresh air.
For those of you headed to HIgh Point in October, consider your choice in shoes quite carefully. Aside from the occasional bike rickshaw ride (for which I am EXTREMELY grateful), it's mostly a full-on walking experience. Choose wisely!
July 09, 2012
My husband will be the first to tell you I have an Italian soul. That means a lot coming from a Sicilian. And while I can't find any ancestral proof that we originated from L'Italia, I assure you that there's no place on this planet that resonates with me more than Italy.
The people, the energy, the architecture, the art... everything. And I haven't even tapped the topic of natural beauty. When I have made my millions stateside I assure you' I'll be packing it up and moving to the Amalfi to spend my days in a dream-worthy villa overlooking the sea.
Until that day manifests, I'll torture you and I both with photos and posts of this nature. Why? because it hurts so good!
Today's incredible photos come to us courtesy of Architectural Digest. They taunt and tempt us with the announcement of eight recently opened hotels that are "perfect spots for a couple's getaway." That may be so, but I'm tempted to go all Brangelina and bring my brood to each of these incredible spots.
If pressed to answer which ones I love best I'll declare my love for the 20-room Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa on the Amalfi Coast (good LORD is it magical!) and the apricot-hued Relais Villa Vittoria overlooking Lake Como. (I think it's safe to assume that all of us, married or not, are always up for good Clooney sighting.)
Of course you can never ever go wrong with a St. Regis... especially one in Florence overlooking the Ponte Vecchio. I also feel as though I have unfinished business in Florence because of all the cities we've visited in Italy, this one was one where I felt the most rushed.
Why do I do this to you on a Monday morning? Because it is your responsibility to pursue your passions and your dreams. And mine are of speaking fluent Italian, having a villa or two abroad (you read that right) and traveling the world with my fun little family.
So... I'm off to do what it takes to get us there. How about you? Where do you need to be?