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BELIZE BOND-ESQUE HIDEAWAYS

ShahBelizeRainforest

Belize, the tiny Central American country, wedged between Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is blessed with virgin beauty. Vast, white-sand beaches host translucent, azure waters bearing the largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia. Two hours inland, dense rainforests and remote rivers shelter endangered species, many indigenous and unique to Belize, and conceal rich, historical Mayan sights. From the astonishing array of marine life to its dazzling display of jungle life, the Caribbean way of life completes the allure. Read more…

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Engage All Senses with the Jordan Winery Tasting & Tour Experience

Photo credits Chris J Hamilton

Photo credits Chris J Hamilton

The moment you step foot onto the Jordan Winery property you know you are in for a truly unique and world-class experience. This is a winery experience that engages all five senses. Their mission – food, wine, and hospitality – says it all. As you approach the breathtaking grounds and chateau-style reception area you are welcomed inside and greeted by your host for the afternoon – ours was Sean Brosnihan, Guest Service Manager. Refreshing cucumber and lemon-infused water was offered and the location of the restroom was pointed out. Sounds simple, but it’s these small details are what five-star hospitality is all about and Jordan nails it.

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Fall Colors – Chicago’s Maxine Salon rounds up the hottest in hair color this autumn

MAXINE BUILDINGThere are two points in the year that we are tempted to change our hair color: spring, and fall. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about the leaves changing and temperatures dropping makes us run to our colorists and beg for change. This year, it was no different, so I headed to Chicago’s famed Maxine Salon for a fall transformation from their resident colorist, Rex Jimieson.

If the color on his arms (he’s majorly inked!) says anything, Rex is all about spicing things up. So when I sat down in the chair with my brassy brown locks, I let him have at it. That’s right: “Dealer’s choice,” I told him. Rex circled around my chair and pondered for a few minutes before an idea visibly hit him and he rushed off to mix up the color.

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Neiman Marcus – The Christmas Book 2013

NeimanMarcua_FGWhat do you give to the person who has everything?  Those with the means, and by that I mean If money is no object, can look to the Neiman Marcus for an answer.  Every year the Dallas based luxury retailer releases their Christmas Book within it a collection of over-the-top offerings of pure extravagance aptly titled Fantasy Gifts.

Flipping through the pages you get wrapped up in its unabashed opulence. It’s a voyeuristic fantasy of the other side that inspires daydreams of “What if…” much in the same vien of when the powerball goes north of 100 million.  We dream of a day when we could give a loved one the world; beautifully gift-wrapped and shipped free when purchased online. Read more…

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Raising spirits with Clique

pumpkininfusion

Few holidays inspire such creative cocktails as Halloween.  It’s a time for mischief and fun, the more outrageous the better.  Sure you could throw some gummy worms into a red fruity martini and call it a night but where’s the fun in that?  Our friends at Clique Vodka sent some festive holiday suggestions from the deliciously twisted mind of Tara Shinn – Clique’s Directory of Mixology.  They’re surely to make your Halloween one to remember Read more…

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The Rockit Burger Bar Brunch Experience

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Chicagoans take their brunches very seriously. Rockit Burger Bar is no exception.

I recently had the opportunity to indulge in this Wrigleyville hot-spot’s popular weekend brunch. Having dined at their River North location for years, I knew this place was no stranger to downright delicious grub. But just how far they take their brunch experience was what really impressed me. Read more…

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Winter Jack

JD_WinterJackYears ago around this time when the days grew colder and the leaves started to turn shades of red and gold, I used to welcome the the change of the seasons with a cocktail called “Apple Jacks”  It was really nothing more than Martinelli’s Apple Juice and a shot of Jack Daniels.  Whiskey and Apples are two flavors that go really well together and felt perfectly in tune with the season.  Lately we have seen trends in flavored whiskeys on the market; honey, maple.  This fall Jack Daniels has released Winter Jack.

Much like my Apple Jacks, Winter Jack brings together Old No. 7 with Apple Cider with some additional holiday spices.  Served warm it’s flavor has been said to be like apple pie with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.  Perfect for the holidays.

Winter Jack was a long time coming.  The recipe for this Tennessee Cider has been in the family for generations and now it goes from their house to yours.  Available in October in select markets for a limited time only,

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Shoes: The Wearable Travel Souvenir

Preston Zly 2

Preston Zly in Melbourne

It’s snowing in Zurich. But that doesn’t prevent me from scurrying across the cobblestones in Old Town along a route I could manage with my eyes closed. Giddy with anticipation, I’m headed to Stefi Talman’s—possibly my favorite shoe store in the world. A tiny shop, resplendent with handcrafted shoes and bags, it’s my de rigueur ritualistic first stop every time I visit Switzerland. The Alps, the Chagall windows, the lake—I’ll see them, but only after I’ve yielded to a “solefull” indulgence in Stefi’s store.

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Foodies Unite at Chicago Gourmet 2013

Chicago Gourmet Millenium Park     Chicago is the culinary epicenter of the midwest – and arguably of the entire nation – which is precisely why an event like Chicago Gourmet is so valuable to the 12,456 foodies who attended this year’s sold out event.

 With over 175 restaurants strutting their stuff on a picture-perfect weekend in the Windy City, it was nearly impossible to sample everything from everyone who showed up and showed off at Bon Appétit magazine’s flagship sponsorship event. Tents littered the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park, each of them staffed with some of the most knowledgeable chefs, sommeliers, and liquor reps out there. Read more…

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The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

BuildingA visit to Chicago to see our awesome publisher, Xan, was long overdue.  So, my little sister and I hopped a quick flight on Southwest to the Windy City. Founder of VODA Magazine, which is based in Chicago, this native knew just where my sis and I should stay.  Without hesitation, Xan recommended the fairly new Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.  I’ll admit I was hesitant at first as I’m more of a Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton fan and also had my eyes set on the understated, yet sophisticated Park Hyatt Chicago, but I trusted my business partner and just one look at the exquisite architecture and I was hooked.  The Radisson Blu Aqua was also the host hotel to Chicago Gourmet, the city’s premiere food and wine festival, so staying there was a no brainer.  The brief weekend visit did not allow time to experience the festival, but we sent our fab food writer, Emily, to report back, stay tuned tomorrow for her article. When we walked into the room, the bathroom floor sparkled like diamonds and the vast balcony overlooking the city was spectacular.  While we didn’t make time for lounging in the sun (there was shopping to do and brunch to be had), we did love the look of the resort-style pool area outfitted with firepits and an outdoor running track. Read more…

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