Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My New Favorite ATL Haute Spot!


One Midtown Kitchen sizzles with great food, atmosphere and service thanks to Manager John McDaniels! This former warehouse near Atlanta’s Piedmont Park turned sexy; glam eatery greets foodies with a glowing purple façade. Once inside, it’s electric! Breathtaking views of the park and the Atlanta skyline makes it a must-stop for those on the social scene. Executive Chef Drew Van Leuvan’s small plate selections are my faves like the flavorful burger with cheddar cheese and parmesan herb fries and decadent desserts like the baked chocolate mousse with malt ice cream topped with English toffee. But don’t forget the wine… an assorted boutique vino list priced from $3 per glass to bottomless flights up to $52 gives you something to cheer about.

You’ve got to check it out year-round because I hear the views from the patio and bar will take your breath away. But, if your budget gives you pause, don’t worry about it, One offers three course meals for $25 on Sunday and Monday. Visit soon because the list changes nightly. And valet parking is complimentary!

Will you visit One Midtown Kitchen?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Shoo Jimmy Choo or Maybe Not Entirely

Shoo, Jimmy Choo, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More by Catey Hill is haute! While, Jimmy Choo is my signature shoe… spending full price isn’t what I advocate. And neither does Hill, who also happens to be the money editor of the New York Daily News Web site and a recovering shoe addict. Remember what happened to Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw when she couldn’t get her apartment because she spent her money on what else—a closet full of Manolos! While, I don’t consider myself a shoe addict, just a girl who likes what she likes, I think Hill is right on with this one. The book covers a lot of topics from fico scores to investment strategy. The book isn’t making a judgment against the girls with overstuffed shoe closets, but rather offering advice designed to tweak spending and create a savings plan that can accommodate an occasional splurge. Although Shoo, Jimmy Choo might make your head turn at the thought of parting with your luxury shoe fix, it also offers big girl advice on how to navigate the real world of retail spending and markups preparing you for a “retire-in-style-fund!” I say keep your Jimmy Choo style, just be smart… never pay full price and use cash! Cash makes you think twice before you spend… so as Hill would say, girls “tame those financial demons!” Learn to click those high heels and walk away if the price isn’t right for you. Get your copy of Shoo Jimmy Choo now! http://www.amazon.com/Shoo-Jimmy-Choo-Modern-Spending/dp/1402766696

Will you part with your Jimmy Choos for a retire-in-style fund?

GIVEAWAY! Sign up to follow Haute Travels, post a comment and tell me what you think about Catey Hill's advice in Shoo, Jimmy Choo based on my review. You could win a signed copy of the book! You have 48 hours to enter!

THE WINNER IS LESLIE!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Atlanta Haute Spot for Haute Toddies!


Dessert cocktails are fabulous at the Four Seasons Hotel’s Park 75 Lounge and Terrace in Atlanta. If you’re looking for an intimate setting to share cocktails with your friends—look no further. Manager and mixologist Jerome Legendre pours it on with the Butterscotch Crème Brulee Martini and the Pear Vanilla Elixir! But you’ve gotta try his hot toddy, it’s nothing like grandma’s. And if an apple a day keeps the doctor away… you will not hesitate to try bobbing for apples. Thinking of chocolate in your glass? It’s time for LaDolce Vita made with nutella. Now that’s Haute!

LA DOLCE VITA (FOR THE NUTELLA LOVERS)

warm drink made with nutella, cream, frangellico
whipped cream, house made nutella sandwich

HOT TODDY
house made chai tea & basil haiden bourbon infusion
fresh lemon juice, orange blossom honey



BUTTERSCOTCH CRÈME BRÛLÉE MARTINI
absolut vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps
tahitian vanilla crème anglaise
caramelized brown sugar


BOBBING FOR APPLES
house made spices & captain morgan rum infusion
splash of pomegranate & apple cider
carved apple filled with pomegranate sorbet



PEAR- VANILLA ELIXIR
house made pear-vanilla & absolut vodka infusion
splash of simple syrup


Sip your way to an evening of fun and the smooth soulful sounds of jazz artist Eric Essix. There’s no cover charge and valet parking is complimentary!

To learn more click here http://www.fourseasons.com/atlanta/dining/park_75_lounge_and_terrace.html

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Karen Neuburger Red Lounge Socks Giveaway!

Even Oprah has endorsed the Karen Neuburger brand... and now Haute Travels is a fan! Just sign up as a follower of Haute Travels and tell me in 140 words or less how you plan to stay warm during the winter storm in a pair of these oh so cute lounge socks in chenille with rubber grip bottoms. Three lucky winners will get to snuggle up with a pair of red KN lounge socks for Christmas! You have 72 hours to enter the giveaway! Now that's haute!



Here's more about the KN Lounge Socks
http://video75.com/JwHub1rp7wZ/karen-neuburger-cozy-socks-item-/


WINNERS:  The Cubicle Chick, Deesha and Bren Herrera! Congratulations!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Haute Healthy Eyes! What's in My Travel Bag?


The Lash Accessor-Eyes System by Colorescience has taken my “flutter farther” in no time. The kit contains a fine line liquid eyeliner, professional eyelash curler and cry me a river waterproof mascara that’s great for sensitive eyes. This premier luxury mineral color cosmetic and skincare line is just as much about skincare as makeup. The great thing about these products… they’ve been created without using damaging ingredients such as dies and coal tar… avoiding harsh chemicals, artificial colorants, chemical preservatives, synthetic fragrance and chemical sunscreens wherever possible. And there’s more, key ingredients include iron oxides for color, wheat protein and vitamin E to promote full, stronger looking lashes. If you want long, healthy, beautiful lashes… try Colorescience. I’ve been using these products for a week and my lashes feel softer with no product buildup. You gotta try the The Lash Accessor Eye System by Colorescience—it’s Haute! http://www.colorescience.com/.


Will you try the Colorescience eye kit?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Get It While It's Haute!

Chanel—Le Regard De Noir Smoky Eye Essentials

To get my smoky eye… I use the Chanel—Le Regard De Noir Smoky Eye Essentials.  It’s their newest eye kit containing everything that you need for the perfect smoky eye.
Tucked inside a cute little travel bag is Chanel’s Smoky Eye Les 4 Ombres Quartet. The palette contains four colors for dark eyes accented with platinum and white. The carbon colored black shadow is perfect for smudging along the lash line. But first line it with Le Crayon Khol Intense Eye Pencil. I play with the shades of gray shadow going lighter as I move closer to the brow bone.

For instant glam… try sweeping the lighter gray in the inner corners of your eye. Haute! I complete my look with about three coats of  Chanel’s Intense Volume and Curl Mascara (black) from the base of my lashes to the tips.
It’s a little pricy (retail $140), but that’s the price you pay for perfection!


What do you think about the Chanel kit?


Haute Smoky Eyes



Haute smoky eyes are always in season especially around the holidays. Here are my tips in 7 easy steps that take you from the girl next door to a sexy siren with bedroom eyes!

Time: 5 Minutes

What You Need: Eyeliner, Two Eye Shadow Brushes, Dark Eye Shadow, Light Shimmery Eye Shadow, Volumizing Mascara and primer

Instructions:

Start with an eye shadow base or primer… use it to dab the lids

Line eyes with a black, brown or gray eyeliner or dark eye shadow (You can also use vibrant colors like purple, blue or deep green)

Blend Color on bottom lashes… the trick—smudge it

Apply dark shadow (with a brush) below the crease to get the full effect… go from dark shadow to light shadow as you move across the eyes to the brow

Sweep a light, shimmery shadow over the lids to your browbone

Blend with a Q-tip

Finish with several coats of volumizing mascara

What are your haute smoky eye tips?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Louis Vuitton Boutique at Crystals is Haute!



High-end retailers are nothing new to the Las Vegas strip, but an entire mall… aimed at the niche market that many have been waiting to see. Well’s that’s haute!

Crystals, the 500,000-square foot luxury retailer and entertainment district at CityCenter opens with 23 shops and restaurants including Tiffany and Company, Cartier and Porsche Design. But it’s the 2½ story Louis Vuitton flagship store that wows me!

MGM Mirge officials wanted something big, bold and energy efficient and that’s exactly what you’ll see along with unique architecture designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind with interior architecture by David Rockwell. It’s like going to a Vegas show!

The shopping mall is considered the gateway from the strip into CityCenter. There’s even a tram that runs from Monte Carlo through Crystals and into the big B—the Bellagio, according to an MGM Mirage spokesperson.

An extra treat… Celebrity Chef Todd English opens his restaurant with Eva Longoria Parker called Beso giving luxe shoppers something else to smile about. The restaurant also doubles as Parker’s nightclub, Eve!

Will you check out the new mall in Las Vegas?

Here's a look at the Louis Vuitton Boutique
http://www.louisvuitton.com/us/flash/index.jsp?direct1=unst_open&campaign=e_121009_stresaW_Z3

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Haute Boutique Hotels!

The Georgian Court Hotel-Vancouver, BC

Travelistas looking for a luxurious escape to the host city for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games must first check into the Georgian Court Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Inspired by 18th Century architectural details, it’s just a stone’s throw from major shopping areas like fashionable Robson Street, historic Gastown and trendy Yaletown. It’s also a favorite destination for celebrities. Beyonce, Britney Spears and Celine Dion have all made glam stops here.

Insiders know there’s only one place for them—the Orchid floor designed exclusively for the female business traveler! Each of the 18 rooms feature a mix of must-have items that you just can’t leave home without like a flat iron, curling iron and ladies-only emergency kit. Plus you’ll enjoy Aveda amenities. And if you’re feeling like a Zen moment… there’s a yoga mat in the room! Greet the sun before you hit the street for power shopping, haute lunches at Coast Seafood Restaurant and fancy cocktails by award-winning Shaun Layton behind the bar at nearby George Ultra Lounge!

And don’t forget to explore Vancouver on foot with its temperate climate and breath-taking views of stunning snow-capped mountains. To get a real taste of Vancouver… head to Stanley Park, check out the beautiful beaches and stop by the cruise ship terminals only minutes away from the Georgian.

The Georgian Court Hotel is also home to the award-winning William Tell Restaurant. To learn more visit http://www.georgiancourt.com/
Now that’s haute!

Hotel Urbano—Miami, Florida



Miami Art Hotel Opens with $20.10 room rates for the New Year! Girly girls in the market for an artful hotel stay should check out the new Hotel Urbano in Miami. During the month of January the hotel is offering $20.10 room rates just for the first night if you book two or more nights (rates for the following nights are $159 per night). Sun worshipping divas will also receive complimentary cocktails upon arrival and a chance to win art work valued at $2,010. To learn more visit http://www.hotelurbano.com/ and use code SPECIAL.
One more thing that makes this haute… William Braemer, artist and Curator of Art Fusion Galleries in Miami plans seasonal art shows displayed throughout the hotel featuring emerging new artists.


Mondrian Hotel—Los Angeles, California

Fashionistas checking into the Mondrain Hotel Los Angeles can expect major discounts at some of LA’s hautest boutiques through January 10, 2010. Shopaholics will have something to cheer about as they stroll Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Place for deals of 20% off retail prices. Browse Diane Von Furstenberg for $100 off a purchase of $500 or more at Ports 1961. And there’s more… Mondrian sweetens the deal by throwing in valet hotel parking and a $100 hotel credit to use at the trendy Skybar, Asia de Cuba restaurant or Agua Spa.

For reservations call 800/606-6090 or visit http://www.mondrainhotel.com/ use code PKSEAS.

Which hotel is your favorite?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fashionable Food and Drink is Haute!

"Le Rituel" Box Set: The Ultimate Glass Slipper Combo




Red haute sole shoe-maker Christian Louboutin revisits a famous ritual from the 1880’s that’s "symbolic of European living with no limits in mind—to sip out of a woman’s stiletto!" Louboutin created a pump with a very high glass heel accompanied by a bottle of Piper Heidsieck’s exclusive bubbly. The ultimate glass slipper is available in a limited edition Heidsieck x Christian Louboutin Le Rituel Box Set. Available through Parisian boutique, Collette for € 350.00 VAT included. Cheers!

Louby and Laduree: A Tasty and Fashionable Pair




ooOOhh la la! Luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin and French bakery Laduree team up for a sweet treat! When I’m in Paris, I make it a point to visit my fave haute spot right on the Champs Elysees. It’s a must-stop for dessert and tea tasting… using your pinky curl. But when I heard about this decadent fashion fix, I was thrilled! Louby designed three gift boxes displaying his exclusive red sole shoes and handbags for Laduree’s world famous macaroons. I wonder did they create a matching shopping bag? After all, you don’t walk down the Champs—you stroll with bags in hand! The boxes are available just in time for Christmas! Prices are about € 9.80 for six. Paris anyone?

London’s Fashion Scene is Good Enough to Eat





In London, The Berkeley Hotel puts a fashion spin on “High Tea.” Designer items turned into cakes, mousses and biscuits can be found in the heart of London’s fashion scene. The Berkeley launched the Prêt-a-Portea collection in celebration of London Fashion Week’s 25th anniversary along with the return of Burberry to the catwalk. You’ll find a collection of tempting treats like the Louis Vuitton pink bunny ears on a bed of chestnut and pomegranate mousse, Burberry’s classic trench in the form of a cinnamon biscuit with caramel icing and Roger Vivier’s chocolate over-the-knee boot biscuit! The fashion crowd is going WOW! Prices for Prêt-a-Portea begin at $40 per person

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Journey into the Land of Red Haute Soles

I remember my first visit to the Christian Louboutin boutique in Paris. The year was 2007 and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the shoe of all shoes. My friend Carole, who lives in Paris and loves all things fashionable, and I ventured to the original flagship store in the Passage Vero-Dodat area. As I made my way to the small French storefront, I remember rounding each corner with girly anticipation that I would soon be surrounded by a sea of red soles.
Upon entering this magical little shop, my eyes dazzled at the display of shoes surrounding me. I was greeted with a friendly “bonjour” by the shop keeper. I responded in kind and began browsing the selection. I must have tried on 20 pair of Loubous and yet each one reminded me of a work of art inspired by the ultimate jewelry collection. Each shoe is handmade with at least 10 pairs of hands leaving no sparkling crystal unturned. Every red haute sole is cut piece by piece and hand sewn to perfection. “The creative process is like being on a trapeze. It’s like dreaming, I feel totally outside myself when I am flying” explains Christian Louboutin, Designer.
So how did the red soles come about, I wondered? "I did not really choose the red sole. It’s more like the red sole came to me and had to stay with me,” explains Louboutin. “It started as a happy accident, which I kept. I was very inspired by pop art so all my drawings were really full of colors.” And thanks to his assistant who decided to paint her nails with red polish… Louboutin had an ahha moment. “Thank God I had this girl with me who was painting her nails. Grabbed her nail polish - thank you to Chanel for that! I grabbed the nail polish and I painted the sole.”
It’s true, “Every little girl going into womanhood dreams of the Cinderella shoe.” I was no different… only I had to dream of the perfect work shoe, social event shoe and weekend style find. I’ve learned to dream bigger thanks to Oprah! It’s all about the “Art of the foot and the sexiness of the arch,” says Louboutin. So true, so true, I often say to myself to justify the cost of my Loubous. Although, I have learned a shopping secret—Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue sales with an extra 25-30% off! I still have to back away from the shoe and talk it out of my hand until such time.
Before I left the store with Loubous in hand, I thought to myself, this must be a dream. I waved goodbye to the red soles adorning the walls and tables in front of the window. A smile crossed my face and then the feeling hit me... I could just dance my way right out the door back to the nearest Metro station. These shoes represent drama in all of its glittering form. After all, “Nobody wears shoes like a dancer on stage” says Louboutin. Putting on a pair of these beautiful red soles is like performing for the world. As I stepped off the curb, I thought… this is just the beginning of my red sole obsession.
Fast Facts About Christian Louboutin:
Louboutin has trained with Charles Jourdan and freelanced for Chanel, Maud Frison, and Yves St. Laurent.  In 1998, Louboutin worked with the great shoe designer Roger Vivier and helped him organize an exhibition of Vivier's work.


In 1992, Louboutin opened his own shop in the Passage Vero-Dodat in Paris. The Louboutin brand and the famous red soles were born. Today, Louboutin's creations adorn the feet of royals and famous celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, and Catherine Zeta Jones.
For More Info: http://www.christianlouboutin.com/#/louboutin_world


From the Oprah Show:
The Face Behind the Name: Christian Louboutin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkxeQnQC0co
Do you have a red sole story?

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's Haute! The Swaby Store Opens In Chicago



Project Runway Canada contestant Shernett Swaby opens a boutique in Chicago at 1933 North Damen. Swaby moved to the windy city from Toronto and a few months later her namesake was born giving the trendy Bucktown area a taste of “runway reality.” The Swaby Store has an elegant yet romantic feel offering a great backdrop for her innovative creations inspired by the starlets of the past turned modern day film sirens. Delicate lace, ruffles and sumptuous silk blouses are staples in her collection. You’ll also find tailored pants and blazers. But the attention is very much in the details. Cocktail dresses and evening gowns are made just for you since Swaby sews each garment by hand in a backroom studio. Couture pieces can set you back about $5,000. But you can find selections starting at just $700. And if that’s still too much try the model 29 line of affordably priced items for $29. And don’t forget to pick up her a signature Swaby bag for the city girl on the go!

Find out about monthly shopping parties at The Swaby Store by visiting http://www.shernettswaby.com/

Where is your favorite boutique?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Haute Stuff! Finding My Soul Purpose




Going green means more than just recycling old newspapers and water bottles to keep our planet clean. It’s also about organic beauty and wellness practices for better health. In my search for eco-friendly products designed to cleanse and nourish my skin, I discovered Soul Purpose, a wonderful line of nature-based body, beauty and lifestyle products created by Nadine Thompson, former co-founder of Warm Spirit.

Thompson has a unique knack for creating product lines that offer amazing health benefits. Her bath gels and body lotions contain a mix of ingredients with cancer-fighting antioxidants found in berries like the Amazon’s Acai, blended with red wine, green tea, and Oregan grape to moisturize and soften the skin. Gospel recording artists Mary Mary and Grammy Award-winner John Legend are also singing the praises of Soul Purpose. So I decided to try the bath and shower gel.

As the seasons begin to change, it always brings about a change in my skincare regimen. This time of year, my skin becomes dry and needs lots of moisture. After a recent trip to Brazil, I became familiar with the healing properties found in plants located in South American rainforests. I’m also inspired by the beauty of people of Portuguese and African decent who have the most amazing skin.

I decided to retreat to my private bathroom one Sunday afternoon for a Brazilian Jackfruit bubble bath to cleanse my mind, body and soul. As I began to massage the Soul Purpose moisturizing gel into my skin, I also embarked on a journey of aromatherapy. The fresh, clean, fruity smell made for a relaxing and therapeutic escape. And I was soon experiencing the benefits of the healing powers of Aloe Vera, Vitamins A&D, Rosemary and Chamomile. Talk about an organic floral and herbal infusion coming to life… Thai water lily was also added to the mix along with polyphenols from red wine said to aid in reducing inflammation also key to anti-aging, and lowering levels of free radicals. My favorite oils like sweet almond and apricot were also listed among the essential oils and plant extracts suddenly being absorbed into my skin. My bathroom was infused with top notes of exotic fruits, mandarin orange, apple and soft floral notes. It was like stepping into the Brazilian Rainforest for the ultimate eco-friendly awakening.

As my hour came to an end, I stepped outside the tub, leaving one foot in just to grab the last drop of this luxurious soak, but it was time to add the final touch. I applied the body lotion to my damp skin using long, circular stokes. It’s non-greasy and absorbs quickly leaving no sign of residue. I absolutely love the fact that this product protects against environmental dangers like pollution and sun exposure. My skin looked healthy and felt incredibly soft and supple… I’m thinking it must be the shea butter from Ghana, I could hear it whispering to me to lather it on generously. Feeling, refreshed and pampered, it was time to open the door and step back into the world around me. Just think… in little more than an hour, my skin took a trip around the world in search of anti-aging products designed to condition, protect and heal. As Thompson would say Soul Purpose is a state of mind that begins deep within your soul. After my hour of bliss, I found my purpose, passion and love in a bottle!

To learn more about Soul Purpose and get free samples click here http://soulpurposelifestyle.webs.com/getfreesamples.htm

Have you found your purpose?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Exclusivity of Paris Designer Kate Mack

In a world where fashion trends reign supreme, 38-year-old French designer, Kate Mack prefers exclusivity. She describes her collection as “feminine and elegant with a funky edge blending modern appeal with classic romanticism.” Many of her avant-garde designs are reminiscent of the Victorian era, but they are nothing short of fierce.


“I try to define the femme fatal, the glamorous and sexy woman and her different moods, desires and needs,” explains Mack. Her signature cowl-neck sweaters, A-line coats and hooded gowns in sensual, colorful fabrics and three-dimensional concepts expose her deepest thoughts. “I create what I feel. I don’t draw any of my designs; they are the fruits of visualization.”

Although Mack, a woman of French-West Indian heritage, says she doesn’t follow fashion trends, everything seems to inspire her. “The language of fabric, pop culture and women on the street dictate what I do—they are the starting points for everything,” she says. “I love fashion, it’s a fabulous means to assert one’s personality and seduce others, while expressing yourself.”

Mack was born in Paris and educated at the Sorbonne, but turned to hair and makeup to express her creativity. Her collections are like poetry in motion blending feminine edgy concepts into romantic and wearable art. “Anything can push me into creating,” explains Mack. “I came up with the idea of using synthetic hair on dresses, coats and accessories. It came naturally to me because I could sew braided hair on anything.”

Inspired by a lack of original creations while spending summers in the Caribbean, Mack’s passion was born. The self-taught designer says her aunts introduced sewing to her as a teenager. They also sold her garments in their shops giving birth to designer "Kate Mack." Since 2002, Mack’s designs have been seen all over the world, including her 2006 debut during Paris Fashion Week. Her clients range from entertainers to lawyers… singers Les Nubians have been added to her roster of celebrity clients along with TV host Linda Lacoste.

As she sifts through samples of her designs in her small boutique, in the heart of Paris, Mack whispers, “I feel very close to designers like Versace, Roberto Cavalli and Azzedine Alaia because of the way I see women.” While not comparing her work to anyone else, she is quick to say, “I’m just doing my thing, trying to show that multiplicity is a richness. I’m a mixture of cultures; my vision is eclectic, plural and tolerant.”

Who is your favorite designer?
Watch a Kate Mack Fashion Show
http://www.youtube.com/user/katemackfashion#p/a

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Fashionista Insider Shopping Secret


It’s no secret that I absolutely love vintage Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, but it’s hard to find great items at good prices. The reason why I love these designers—original design and innovation that never goes out of style.

My secret shopping tip for effortless chic… Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. LH’s ever-so popular, highly attended couture and accessories auction in Chicago attracts fashionistas and dealers from around the world! Can’t make it to Chicago for the upcoming auction, don’t worry, you can browse items right in your living room and bid over the phone or online.

If you’re like me… you love collecting great handbags, jewelry and all things girly. After all, that’s the hallmark of any fashionista worth her weight in baubles, beads and bangles. By now, you might be asking yourself, “Just how good are the deals?” Well, you had to ask. I’ll share a secret… I’ve been on the hunt for a Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Jewelry Case for a lot less than the retail price of $2,000, but at LH the bidding starts at $400.

The auction house also invites buyers to special preview parties and events. When you can save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on pricy couture gowns, beautiful jewelry from private estates and fabulous accessories—why not?

Do you have a secret fashionista shopping tip?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Haute Travels Haute Tips





Chocolate Lovers Head to St. Lucia for FREE Chocolat-tinis!

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia announces its annual chocolate festival, December 4-6, 2009. It is a delicious, interactive and exotic introduction to the world's favorite aphrodisiac - chocolate. Cacao has a history in St Lucia that dates back to the 1700's. Be one of the first to taste our premier vintage of our Jade Mountain Estate Grown chocolate.

The event starts on December 4 with a "Chocolat-tini" party. Jade Mountain's well known Consulting Chef, Allen Susser will share his talents and passion for chocolate. Take pleasure in a complimentary chocolate martini. Taste local, seasonal chocolate inspired savory finger foods. And don’t forget the chocolate desserts! http://www.jademountain.com/


The Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos in Mexico offers guests two free nights for holiday booking.

Escape the cold, celebrate the holidays in beautiful Los Cabos and leave with a great travel gift from The Westin Resort and Spa. Book your stay between December 23, 2009 and January 2, 2010 and receive gift certificates for two free nights to be used any time within one year of check out. But you must book online at http://www.westinloscabos.com before November 30th!

The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar extends the popular Sensational Savings Package through November 30th.

Guests who take advantage of this package will receive the opportunity to extend their Los Cabos vacation with complimentary room nights, incredible food and beverage credits and exceptional spa savings. Those staying for three nights will get their fourth night free through the Sensational Savings Package and guests who would like to enjoy a whole week in the tropical Mexican paradise can experience their last two nights for free.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar offers $119 Rooms!

In addition to the free night incentives, guests staying between four and six nights at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar will receive a food & beverage credit of $200 and for those staying seven nights or more, the resort will provide a $300 dining credit.

Plus...for a limited time only you can get room rate starting at $119 per night for deluxe accommodations, including in-room Jacuzzis tubs and beautiful views. Rates are based on availability and travel must be booked by November 30, 2009 and completed by April 27, 2010. This limited time offer can be booked online at www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/loscabos.

The Ritz-Carlton Wedding News...

The Ritz-Carlton will donate 5% of the food revenue from your planned wedding event to The Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints Fund & charity of your choice.

You can also have your dream wedding on the beach at The Ritz Carlton for FREE if your guests book 25 rooms at select properties.

The U.S. Virgin Islands… 25-Cent Hotel Rooms!

A celebration of the minting of the U.S. Virgin Islands quarter sparked the islands’ Department of Tourism to promote 25-cent room rates at participating hotels. Guests are limited to three nights, while supplies last. The deal also includes a $25 dining credit and a $25 per person activities credit. But you must book before November 2 and travel must take place before November 15. Reservations must be made through BookIt.com

New York Shopping with Lucky Magazine!

Plan a girl’s getaway to NYC to Shop... Lucky Magazine is hosting its sixth annual pre-holiday "Lucky Shops" event Nov. 6-7.

FREE Cosmetics at Sephora
http://www.sephora.com/promo/beautybonuses/index.jhtml?om_mmc=ret-n1-20091030bundles---stb-banh6p2b-multip-xc-om-us-ftrfreestuff-fos-h-&dicid=401036:15913102380:10427634
Air Fare Price Cut!

Southwest kicks off a system-wide sale with airfares as low as $25 one-way for short-haul flights and coast to coast travel is going for as little as $100 one-way, or $200 roundtrip. The last time that Southwest offered $25 fares was 1996 for their 25th anniversary sale.

FREE Car Rental

Budget offers a FREE car rental on Sunday. Just rent a full-size four door car for a minimum of 3 days, including a Saturday night and Sunday is complimentary.

Will price cuts make a difference in your travel plans?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stretch Your Travel Dollars


Travelistas know that even in an economic downturn or recession, you can still travel on the cheap. Generally, when traveling your biggest expenses are airfare and hotel accommodations. But with a little advance planning and loyalty programs, you can get free airline tickets, hotel stays and donate to charity. Companies know that customers enrolled in loyalty programs are more likely, in fact reportedly four times, more likely to return for repeat business. The programs are designed to encourage buying behavior, so why not take advantage? You can also trade points for merchandise and gift cards. After all, these value-added promotions are designed to say thank you and membership is free.

Here are my haute tips for traveling in style for less:

1. Pick one or two loyalty programs and commit to staying at one of those properties or flying with a particular airline every time you travel. When I travel to the big apple, I generally stay at the Hilton New York located in Midtown because it’s usually under $200 per night (w/breakfast for 2) and I get Hilton HHonors Points. Also, when selecting airlines, search for those offering more destinations to your favorite cities. The goal—collect miles faster for redemption!

2. Be smart and strategic when planning your hotel stays. I love Hyatt’s faster free night program. During the faster free night promotional period, with every two hotel stays, you earn one free night at any Hyatt property in the world. I earned two free nights just by switching hotels in Paris. I spent the first few days at the Hyatt Madeleine, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Paris, before spending the weekend at the fabulous Park Hyatt Vendome. I switched back to the Hyatt Madeleine and spent my last night at the Hyatt Charles de Gaulle near the airport. I used my two free nights and a few gold passport points for three free nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome, a few months later. I saved about $3,000.00 US! Can you say ooh la la?

If you want to stay at the Ritz Carlton, but can’t afford it. No problem! Marriott’s frequent stayer program allows members to redeem points for free nights at the Ritz! The only catch, you can’t earn points at Ritz-Carlton. I redeemed my points for a free night in Montego Bay, Jamaica for a girl’s getaway.

3. Be flexible and join other programs like car rentals to earn hotel points or airline miles. Avis and Budget rental car companies will also allow members to earn hotel rewards points through a program called goldpoints plus.

4. Use your reward for upgrades. Another way to save money is by purchasing an airline ticket or hotel room for less and using reward points or miles to upgrade to first class or a more spacious hotel room with more amenities.

5. Use your rewards for charity! The best way to help others is to give back. You can donate Marriott Rewards points to the Children’s Miracle Network. Your donations help the families of sick and injured children stay at Marriott Hotels located near hospitals where their children are being treated.

6. When planning to use points or miles for redemption, plan ahead. Many hotels only allow about 10% of their rooms to be reserved using reward points; therefore don’t wait until the last minute to book reservations.

While the economy is showing signs of a pending recovery, many companies are relaxing rules and allowing members to accrue rewards faster by doubling or tripling points. Private deals and special promotions are made available only to members of these programs... so sign up now! Visit pointmaven.com to find out how to earn the most points on every trip. You can also get up to the minute loyalty program news at flyertalk.com. There’s never been a better time to show your loyalty than in a troubled economy so make the most of it!

Which loyalty programs do you like?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NJ Hotel Offers Free Rooms For Unemployed


The owners of The Blue Bay Inn in Atlantic Highland have decided to stimulate the economy by giving those who are unemployed a chance to ring in the New Year for free.

Dido and Sark Krikorian say it’s part of their “Hotel for the Holidays” promotion. Dido Krikorian told PR-USA.net, "In tough times like these offering a little hope to your neighbor is the least we can do. Let's say it's our version of a stimulus package."

In all 23 rooms will be available to those who are receiving unemployment compensation and can prove it. The lucky guests will be chosen based on letters they write about why they should be selected for the giveaway. Winners will also receive tips on how to write a resume and interview for a new job.

What do you think about the giveaway?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Travel The World for Less


Thinking about a trip to abroad, but just can’t figure out how to swing it on a tight budget? Well if you’re a frugalista, recessionista or just don’t want to part with your money too soon kind of girl, there are things that you can do that will save you hundreds of dollars. Here are some tried and true travel tips that always work for me. And trust me it won’t hurt a bit!

Take Public Transportation… Get on the Bus
In most international cities like London or Paris it’s convenient and less expensive to travel by bus or train. It’s also the best way to get around in a “walking city”. I generally get an unlimited travel pass for the week for the metro bus/train in Paris. Once, while vacationing in Monte Carlo, in the South of France, I dashed over to Italy by train for less than $20 US.

Travel with your BFF and Pool Your Resources
Plan a trip with your best friend and see great sites around the world by sharing the cost. I once traveled to Nice, France with my friend Greta… we planned every aspect of our budget. We even traveled-off season to bring the costs down on our hotel. We got a terrific deal at the Marriot with a view of the Mediterranean Sea for less than $200 US per night.

Skip Expensive Restaurants for Breakfast and Lunch and head to the Supermarket
You don’t have to eat every meal at a restaurant or café. You can always drop by the supermarket for breakfast and lunch items (assuming that breakfast is not included in your hotel stay). I spent part of my summer in Paris taking a photography class a few years ago. Some of my classmates (professional students) told me that I could buy sandwiches at Monoprix for less than $2 US instead of the corner bistro for a lot more. Who knew? I also grabbed snacks and water for my room that lasted the entire week. I used my extra cash for dinner at some great French restaurants.

Shop at Secondhand and Thrift Stores
My favorite places to shop are often flea markets and resale shops. I have shopped in France, Mexico, the Bahamas and Brazil for items that are locally produced. I figured I could shop for high-end designer items anywhere, but I can’t find Limoges Porcelain from France or gem stones mined in Brazil just anywhere. It’s a great pastime to stroll flea markets on Sunday when I’m in Paris or Brazil. Unlike department stores or boutiques… you can bargain with vendors who are motivated to sell on the spot. Just be sure to bring cash!

Trade Hotel Points for the Best Hotels in the World
I absolutely love the Park Hyatt properties… I’ve stayed at the Park Haytt in Toronto, Paris and Chicago on gold passport or faster free night points. The best part about staying for FREE… it’s free! Just think about the money that you can save. Plus, you get great service and spacious rooms. I love the French tea and Evian water in glass bottles that come complimentary in your room at the Park Hyatt in Paris. These properties are always in fabulous locations and the service is outstanding!

Friday, October 16, 2009

20 Reasons Why I Love Chicago!


There is no city in the world like Chicago… from the mag mile to the gorgeous skyline and lakefront living; the windy city is my kind of town! I lived in Chicago for 10 years and I can’t ever think of having a dull moment. Although, my friends would call me every winter and inquire about my sanity, since I left the warm, cozy southern city of Atlanta for the dreadful cold of the Midwest; I still smile when I think of my home away from home. Here are 20 things that I love about the Chi:

1. Great Friends in my mind Barack, Michelle, Hillary (Chicago-adjacent) & Oprah!
2. The Lakefront
3. Michigan Ave Shopping
4. Great Restaurants with a view
5. Alfresco Dinning
6. Great Walking City
7. The Art Galleries in River North (Nicole Gallery)
8. The Architecture River Cruise
9. Vintage Living in Hyde Park
10. Music in the Park
11. The Oprah Show
12. Unknown Fashion Designers
13. Chicago-Style Pizza
14. A Great Chicago Hot Dog
15. The Caramel and Cheese Popcorn Mix at Garrett's
16. Charming Boutiques in Lincoln Park and on Oak Street
17. The Bean in Chicago's Millennium Park
18. The Theatre Scene
19. The Christmas Windows at Marshall Field’s (A.K.A Macy’s)
20. The Art Institute

What city do you love?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Spy Lovers Pampering Retreat Remembered


Did you know that jet setters have long held a secret that the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas is where the “beautiful” people retreat for a chance to unwind? Although, it is widely known that the hotel has been the location of two James Bond spy movies, "Thunderball" and "Never Say Never Again," its real claim to fame was its spa.

Sitting beachside just a stone’s throw away from the towering, soft yellow hotel on Bay Street, in downtown Nassau, was the charming Azure Spa. This full service 3,200-square-foot day spa served has a holistic retreat for those seeking to de-stress and detox at an ocean’s edge. The dècor was typically Bahamian with rich and colorful paintings adorning the walls. Each of the seven treatment rooms were named for different islands that make up the Bahamas. And the spa director, Isabelle, had healing hands that even 007 couldn’t resist. I still remember my visit to this little spa.

I’d met Isabelle earlier and she invited me in to sample their services. Refreshing and deep cleansing facials, body scrubs, massages and wraps were served à la cart. A relaxing 50-minute Vichy shower with a body scrub, using natural ingredients from the island, was my indulgence of choice. After a week of duty-free shopping, art gallery and museum hops and lunch by the sea… it was time to experience the Azure Spa for myself.

Just a few minutes after I walked into the spa and traded my beach cover-up and swimsuit for a comfy robe, I remember entering the Exuma treatment room where marble tile walls and overhead shower jets greeted me. Isabelle went right to work slaughtering a berry scrub all over my body before polishing with a loofah sponge. She worked quickly on both sides, while gently removing dull dry skin and improving circulation. Next, warm water fell from overhead like tropical rain revealing my sparkling new skin. After a soothing moisturizer was applied, I was well on my way to a Zen moment.

But soon, I was on the table again for the most amazing Swedish massage that I had ever experienced. Generally, I stay away from this type of massage because it’s a little rough for me. But under Isabelle, it was nothing short of blissful. She asked, “What would make the message more comfortable for you?” And she adjusted her strokes accordingly, while strategically targeting muscles that were in need of a little TLC. An hour later, I felt brand new kind of like a Bond Girl ready for an afternoon martini... shaken, not stirred!

It was some weeks later when I learned that the spa closed. I couldn’t believe it. After all what’s a spy lover to do without her favorite hideaway? Although, I’ve been back to Nassau a number of times… still staying at the Hilton, I can’t help but reminisce about that day at the spa

Do you have a favorite spa?

Paris Insider Shopping Secret


There is absolutely nothing like the euphoria you get when you find that one of a kind pair of Jimmy Choo's just waiting for you. What about the vintage-inspired handbag that you stumble upon at a boutique that nobody knows about.

It's no secret that I absolutely love shopping in Paris for antiques, designer goods and vintage items. But with the dollar being so weak year after year, I decided to seek out a designer resale shop that I was told houses the likes of Chanel hangbags, Louis Vuitton totes and Hermès scarves. It's a slice of heaven hidden on a medival-like Parisian street in the wealthy 16th arrondissement called Dèpot-Vente De Passy. It's a wonderful overstock and resale shop offering great buys from top designers. Only shopping-insiders know about this little gem. You just never know what you'll find. I've discovered great gently used handbags like YSL and Louis Vuitton for a fraction of the orignal retail price. Whenever I'm in Paris... this is my first stop!

Do you have a favorite shopping spot in Paris? Would you shop for secondhand chic?


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Healing Powers of the Jamaican Bush


I recently learned that it's time to go green for better health. My recent trip to the Fern Tree Spa in Rose Hall, Jamaica, tucked inside the exclusive enclave of the Half Moon Resort, offered a lesson in wellness using natural herbs picked right out of the garden. Plagued by a nasty cough and need for a little R&R, I thought that it was time for a Jamaican getaway.

Less than 24 hours later, I was unpacking inside a beautiful ocean front suite with a spa-like bath and gorgeous hardwood floors with white sheer fabric billowing throughout. I walked over to my bedroom window covered with white shutters to invite the ocean inside. I retreated to my living room realizing that I was well on my way to discovering the secret healing powers of the "bush."

My road to recovery began during lunch with Spa Elder Stella Gray. She noticed that I had a persistent cough that just wouldn't go away. So she created a spa menu with ingredients from land and sea just for me. Stella has been using herbs from her garden for more than 30 years to heal the sick. So it wasn't surprising when she went to her garden to pick fever grass, Cerasee, akee and sour sap leaves to heal me. Together with ginger, thyme, bamboo and allspice, she crushed the plants and herbs in a homemade pouch for my Jamaican bush bath. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical, but I wanted to try it. As instructed, I went back to my room and dropped the pouch in hot water to steep. I poured the potion in my bath and lit a candle. The blended herbs aid in internal and external cleansing to heal and revitalize the mind and soul. As the water began bubbling around me, I began to witness the healing powers of the bush. So I stepped into the tub with water jets and let nature take its course. It was truly an awakening. The lemon grass and ginger helped to eliminate toxins, while bamboo and Cerasee nourished and hydrated my skin.

The next morning, I woke up and found that I wasn't coughing. That nagging cough had simply disappeared. As I sipped ginger tea on my deck, I looked out to the ocean and watched the waves crash against rocks grouped around the water's edge. The peacefulness made for a heavenly escape. And all of my worries just floated back out to sea. Who could ask for more? Certainly not me.

Have you ever gone green for better health?