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Paradise Found with the Amala Facial at the Four Seasons

Four Seasons Spa Chicago Photo Credit: Emily Belden

Four Seasons Spa Chicago Photo Credit: Emily Belden

In the last six months, I got married, had a book published, moved into a house, bought a car, adopted another rescue dog, and submitted my second manuscript to my agent. They say stress takes a toll on your skin. And let me just say, I can tell. So when the opportunity came to try out the new Amala Organic Facial at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, I jumped at it. Fifty minutes of uninterrupted relaxation? Yes, please.  And let me just say, the experience was superb from start to finish. Read more…

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Blue Nectar

IMG_4365

Blue Nectar did the most extraordinary thing.  It made me a fan of tequila.

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Soho House Chicago Opens Today in the West Loop

Photo courtesy of Soho House Chicago

Photo courtesy of Soho House Chicago

Today, August 11, 2014 marks the date for the iconic opening of  Soho House Chicago.  A new addition to Chicago’s West Loop, the Chicago property joins 10 other Soho Houses located in the UK, Berlin, Miami, New York, and West Hollywood. The houses were designed as a place for creatives to gather and provide unique meeting spaces, dining areas, and the not-to-be-missed pampering at the Cowshed Spa. The Chicago property features a hotel with Small and Medium Bedrooms offering 300-500 square feet, walk-in rain showers, and 100% cotton Egyptian sheets. The Medium Plus Bedrooms offer spacious 600 square feet with free-standing tubs, a dining table for two, and sitting areas. Read more…

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Vail: Just The Way You Like It

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Photo courtesy of Elevation Resort at Solaris

Some addresses are better than others.

Stay at Elevation Resort Residences at Solaris, tucked into the heart of Vail, America’s toniest ski town, and you’ll see what I mean. This brand, spanking new stay concept, a collection of just 19 spacious condos within an urbane, hotel-like complex, redefines what it means to sleep in the mountains. Conceived to be sumptuous enough to coddle, but kitted-out enough to enhance a long term stay with kids and grandparents alike, these sleek, contemporary guestrooms feel more like premium, permanent homes right in the middle of town. With exposed wood, shiny marble, textured stone and snow-white stucco they sprawl out—in some cases—to 4,400 supremely appointed feet. A five minute walk from the gondola, they sit atop a half-moon crescent of galleries, shops, and restaurants—including trendy, see-and-be-seen Matsuhisa, the high-altitude version of Nobu. The complex includes a five-star fitness room, a spa, and a lap pool. With mountain views, fully-equipped kitchens, Aveda amenities, fluffy robes, 24-hour concierge service and free WiFi, the residences might lure you to set up a home office—or, stay in and sip wine from your balcony with mountain views. But part of being in Vail, a high country hamlet just 100 miles west of Denver, is stepping outdoors, breathing in the crisp mountain air and getting your heart aflutter with some sort of exercise (even if that merely means a stroll through the shops). Read more…

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Bishop Arts District and Deep Ellum: The Dallas You Wouldn’t Expect

Bishop Arts District logo

Cowboys, horses and big hair might be some of the first images to come to mind when visualizing Dallas. It is in the heart of the Lone Star State, but make no mistake—Dallas is quickly becoming one of the most exciting and diverse places in the country to enjoy award-winning dining, inventive drinks and sensational nightlife.

Bishop Arts District and Deep Ellum are two historic neighborhoods that are breathing new life and culture into Dallas. Chefs, restaurateurs and cocktail enthusiasts are flocking to the two recently revamped historic neighborhoods, and Dallasites are following.

Forget the Dallas you remember from television shows and Western movies. Instead, explore these two neighborhoods and enjoy a day of pleasant strolling, decadent dining and scrumptious libations. Read more…

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Eyes to the skies in style

Chicago Air & Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show

Where to stay for the 55th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show – August 16 & 17 Read more…

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Utopia Found at Fearrington Village

The AAA Five Diamond Fearrington House Restaurant

The AAA Five Diamond Fearrington House Restaurant

Have you ever checked into a resort and wished you could move in? Say hello to Fearrington Village. We stumbled upon this utopian wonderland on the way home from UNC. This whimsical village sits just eight miles south of Chapel Hill and boasts four eateries, including a AAA Five Diamond gourmet restaurant, a heavenly spa, shops, a quaint bookstore with well-known author events, a Five Diamond Relais & Chateaux Inn, gardens, homes, cow pastures, and more. Owner R.B. Fitch and his late wife Jenny took the saying of “Build it and they will come,” to a whole new level with their vision of Fearrington Village.

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Miami’s First Gin Club Opens In the Sexy New Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach

Gin, once described as an herbal medicine, derived from the juniper berry is one of the most widely ranging spirits in existence. In preparation for VODA Magazine’s Miami Issue, we’re headed to the Metropolitan by Como Hotel in Miami Beach. This is Tripadvisor’s current number one hotel and home to the sultry city’s very first gin club at the Traymore Bar. I perused the menu of over 30 different artisanal gins – all this time I was limiting myself to Tanqueray and Bombay. The menu features gin from the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Netherlands. While I’m content with a simple gin martini or a gin and tonic with a lime, I was thrilled to see a fabulous mixology program in place for this dynamic spirit and other alluring liquors.

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Of Castles And Things: Don’t Miss These Grande Dame Stays Around The World

Photo courtesy of the Castlemartyr Resort

Photo courtesy of the Castlemartyr Resort

In a scene conjured from a modern fable, a forgotten teddy bear arrives by pony cart—just in the nick of time. Amid the craggy ruins of a 12th century castle, just adjacent to the 16th century manor house and only the distance of a crossbow-slung arrow from a swan lake and the walls of an ancient garden, a little princess dries her eyes. She watches the incoming cart bounce over the hillocks and lows of a traditional links course in mute anticipation. When the Kerry Bog ponies halt with a clatter at the door of her nearly departing automobile, the child jumps for joy and her parents exchange long looks of relief. On cue, a tuxedo clad redeemer leaps like a lord from the cart, the rescued stuffed toy aloft. With a flourish, he delivers his charge into the child’s anxiously outstretched hands, takes a bow, then remounts the carriage and disappears across the lawn at a clip to perform more beneficent deeds. He’s no prince charming, but a concierge; and she’s not real royalty, but a hotel guest. It’s just a typical (fairytale) day at Castlemartyr Resort in Ireland’s County Cork.

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MEXICANA ACOUSTICA – The art of strings and the music of Herradura

Cynosure_Herradura_Back_of_Neck2

The music from a finely crafted instrument is a thing of beauty.  In the hands of a skilled luthier, the instrument itself can be  a work of art.  Case in point, “Mexicana Acoustica”, a guitar created by South Florida artist Cynosure.

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