Thursday, August 16, 2007

What you should know before buying furniture


Before you enter any furniture store to make a purchase, give thought to your own lifestyle. I would advise anyone who is ready to buy furniture to sit down and take note of your current surroundings and needs. Keeping in mind the following key factors, you will save yourself time and costly mistakes.

There is nothing worse than finding the right piece of furniture only to find out that it won't fit in your home. Measure the spot in which your piece will be placed. Are there any heating units it will hit, beams that will lessen the height of your room, window treatments you don't want to cover? Take a step back and look for any obstacles that your home has created for you.

Finding out what style you want to bring into your home will take a little homework on your part. Many of you already know that you like a certain style such as country, casual elegance, contemporary, Victorian and so on, but have you really figured out what it is that you like about it? Sit down with several home decorating magazines and tear out pictures that you like. After a while, you may see similarities in the pictures you have chosen. It might be that all of the sofas have rolled arms... the chairs have detailed carvings... the sideboards have straight legs... or that all of the pieces have wrought iron handles. Whatever it may be, looking at photos first can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Color and texture can set the mood of a room. Do you want the furniture to look feminine, masculine, stand out against the wall, or blend into the background? Think about what colors make you feel good and what colors you would rather not see used in your home. Also, color and texture should be an important decision factor if you have children and/or pets. If you have children , and the item you want to purchase will be used by them, consider colors or patterns that will conceal stains along with textures that will take heavy use. With animals, keep in mind the color of your family pet. Is your pet's fur light or dark? Try to look for fabric that will camouflage the shedding in between your regular cleanings. Should you consider a white sofa if your Persian cat is black?

When it comes time to make a purchase, you will see that items are available in every price bracket imaginable. You can get items that look expensive for a great price, but in most cases, you get what you pay for. Higher-priced items will last longer due to the way they are produced. Sofas may have coils that are eight-way hand tied... bureaus will have dove-tailed drawers... or dining room tables could have an eleven-step hand rubbed finishing process to give it that beautiful glow. All of this takes professional manpower and craftsmanship which will, of course, be represented in the price. The lower-priced items are usually mass produced, and even though they may still represent a certain quality which you are looking for, you won't get the life span out of it that you would from a higher-priced piece. There is a way of getting high quality with a lower price, and this is my favorite type of shopping. I call it "creative shopping". Creative shopping does take a little longer since you have to search for your dream piece, but you will save hundreds even thousands of dollars if you furnish your home in this manner. A creative shopper knows where to find items in a retail store that might be less than perfect in the retailer's eyes. These items, however, can usually be positioned or camouflaged in a way that the flaw would not show. When you go to a store, ask if they have a "seconds" or "damaged goods" area. Some retail stores will also have a once-a-year tent sale on items that are damaged or discontinued. Ask the sales person to put you on a mailing list so that you can be part of this great buying opportunity. Also consider furniture consignment shops where items can be up to 70% off the original retail price since the item is pre-loved. If you work with a consignment shop that is picky about what they will put on their floor, you should have no trouble finding items that will need little or no repair. Another shopping avenue would be to search the newspapers for private sales. You will be able to ask the seller about the price, size, color, and style right from the comfort of your own home. The only two drawbacks with creative shopping are that the items are usually a final sale and you have to take care of moving them to your home yourself, so be sure the item is exactly what you are looking for.

With all of this in mind.... get out your magazines, make a list, and by all means have fun!

Global Spa Finder



Are you looking for an incredible spa? This magazine will do all of the work for you! Just sit back, read, and relax!

2008 Global SpaFinder - The Definitive Worldwide Spa Directory

Christie's is Now Able to Auction Rare Spirits.

NEWS RELEASE


SPITZER SIGNS BILL LEGALIZING LIQUOR AUCTIONS IN NEW YORK



NYWines Christie’s Plans Robust Offering Of Rare Spirits

In First Auction Since Prohibition



NEW YORK - Liquor connoisseurs will soon be able to bid on rare distilled spirits from around the globe at auctions in New York, legalized yesterday by Governor Eliot Spitzer, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, which lobbied for the bill.

Christie’s, the world's leading art business and a supporter of the new law, immediately announced plans to hold the first liquor auction in New York through NYWines Christie's. This will be the first such auction in New York since Prohibition began in 1920.

“Having followed the passage of the bill very closely, we are now able to formally announce our plans for an auction to include collectible spirits this December. We are currently accepting consignments of vintage cognac, armagnac, Scottish, Irish and American whiskies, bourbon and other traditional spirits,” said Richard Brierley, Head of Christie’s Americas Wine Sales. “Christie’s is pleased that the efforts of the Distilled Spirits Council have resulted in this positive change in New York State law.”

The Distilled Spirits Council estimates that millions of dollars in exclusive spirits sales have been lost to London, Paris, Glasgow and other auction centers around the globe because spirits auctions have been against the law in New York, costing the state large amounts in lost sales taxes.

"New York is the global trend-setter, and it's entirely fitting collectors have the ability to conduct business in New York," said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy.

"Not only will this accelerate the consumer trend for super premium spirits products, but it will bring new revenue to state coffers. We commend the legislature for passing the bill and Governor Spitzer for signing it into law."

Cressy noted that the new law also allows spirits tastings at the auctions, just as it is already allowed for wine auctions. Nationally, seventeen states permit wine auctions, but New York becomes only the eighth state to authorize spirits auctions.

The legislation, Senate Bill 3606, was sponsored by Senator George Winner and passed the Senate 58 to 1 on June 19th, and unanimously passed the Assembly the following day. The bill takes effect sixty days after the Governor’s signature.

###

Press Release From The Distilled Spirits Council of United States.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is a national trade association representing the leading brands of distilled spirits. Council member products include the full spectrum of quality distilled spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs.

The distillers take special pride in their products as well as in their commitment to encourage responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults who choose to drink. If you choose to drink, consume sensibly and responsibly. An important part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of regular beer (12 oz.), distilled spirits (1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits) and wine (5 oz.) each contains the same amount of alcohol. www.distilledspirits.org

Friday, August 3, 2007

The York Harbor Inn & Harbor Crest Inn, York Maine


During July of 2007, my husband and I enjoyed a stay at the York Harbor Inn, which can be found on the beautiful and scenic drive along Coastal Route 1, in York, Maine. The Dominguez family owns The Main Inn, as well as four other properties; the Yorkshire Building “The Carriage House”, the Harbor Hill Inn, the Harbor Cliffs Bed & Breakfast, and the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn.

During our visit, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at room#12 which was designed and decorated by, LL Bean of Maine. I couldn’t wait to see the room once I heard it was photographed for one of LL Bean’s catalogs. Upon entering the room, we felt as if we were tucked away in a rural mountain cottage until, that is, we stepped out onto the deck and saw the glorious ocean view.

Then there is room #11, with its very unique door. Almost half the size of a normal door and angled to follow the slope of the ceiling, we were told that some guests refer to this room as the “gnome room”. The story of Alice in Wonderland flooded my thoughts as I tried to envision normal sized suitcases fitting through that tiny door.

Our home for the night was the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn. After stepping over the threshold of the front door, I was impressed by the elegance of the first floor décor and the size of the common rooms. In the front foyer, a mini internet area was tucked discreetly into a space that might have been a closet; or left behind from an old stairway.

To the right, a pleasant room with several tables and windows that are dressed in a cheery blue and yellow fabric; even on this gloomy day, the room created a feeling of vibrancy and happiness. On the left-hand side of the front hall, a blue and white sitting room; and to the rear of the foyer is another relaxing sitting room with a corner gas fireplace.

Looking out the windows, we could see private sitting areas just waiting to be enjoyed. With only seven guest rooms in the inn, we felt like we were alone in this grand home, and we were already making plans on where to sit later to enjoy a quiet moment.

We got to our room via a grand stairway in the rear portion of the home. As soon as we opened our door, we felt as if we were entering a private room in a home… and not that of an inn. The only touches that reminded me that we were staying at an inn was the telephone connected to The Main Inn, (which is 4/10ths of a mile down the street), two bottled waters placed on the bedside table, a full restaurant menu to whet our appetites, and of course the basket of bathroom niceties. Hidden behind a French door, made private by a white-on-white sheer-stripe fabric, the oversized bathroom was an extra special surprise. With a color theme of black, white, and apricot, the bathroom had elegant touches and a nice open feeling. Sure, the large two-person whirlpool with its five jets was great, but the icing on the cake for me, was having my own makeup vanity to sit at! That little touch of luxury made the stay even more special, and I felt like a princess.

Our dinner reservation (which is highly recommended) was for 7:00 pm at The Main Inn. We contemplated putting on our sneakers and shorts so that we could walk to the restaurant: but even though casual attire is welcome, we opted to make the short drive by car since I felt like getting dressed up and donning high heels for the evening.

When you arrive at The Main Inn and make your way to the restaurant, you pass through
what is called the Cabin Room. “The Cabin Room”, says Anita Taggersell, Director of Sales for the inn, “was constructed on the Isles of Shoals in 1637 and was dismantled and moved (floated by barge) sometime well before 1700 (no specific year available) and reconstructed on our site. The beams have that ancient patina that can only be created by

time, not by man.” There is also a large stone fireplace that now sits cool to the touch and is patiently waiting to warm guests on the next cold and chilly Autumn night.

A new bar, with beautiful wood paneling, was recently added and tucked into the left hand corner of the Cabin Room, and a pub with the same full menu as the 1637 Main Dining room can be found downstairs.

After being seated at our candlelit table, we proceeded to order our drinks and appetizers while enjoying the view of the ocean harbor. Our drinks for the night were Johnny Walker Black on the rocks for my husband and the house Pinot Grigio (Lagaria from Italy) for me. For the appetizer... we enjoyed the Ploughman’s Platter. This is the chef’s daily selection of cured meats that are created on the premises, local cheeses, warm bread, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic cloves, and olives ($13.95). This was just the right- sized portion to start off the evening. Following the appetizer, we had a small serving of sorbet to cleanse our palates which prepared us for the rest of the meal.

Wanting to eat light, I opted for their homemade French Onion Soup made with sweet onions, croutons, and topped with imported Swiss cheese ($6.25) and the 2 Olive Caesar Salad which was created with hearts of romaine blended with their own Caesar salad dressing ($7.95). My husband ordered the Baked Stuffed Haddock, and he said it was, “hands down”, the best stuffed haddock he has ever had. The North Atlantic Haddock was filled with a shrimp and crab stuffing and served over a delicious sherry-tomato cream sauce. ($23.95). Noted as “A Chef’s Favorite” we both agreed.

I wish I could tell you how the dessert was, but both of us were so full from this incredible meal that we decided to skip the dessert and opted to take a walk in the park across the street.

The Next Morning:

Well rested after a great night of sleep, we headed downstairs for a wonderful Continental Breakfast. We entered the well-appointed kitchen and saw the arrangement of muffins, pastries, bagels, and cereal boxes set out on the counter. The icing on the cake for my husband was when he saw his favorite newspaper laid out on the counter. For me, other than the princess vanity in our room, was breakfast on the porch… morning sunshine on my face… and sipping coffee in complete and total silence… Pure Bliss!

To make reservations contact the inn at 1-800-343-3869 or visit their informative Web site www.yorkharborinn.com

Directions:

From Interstate 95 North or South (in Southern Maine); take “Yorks/Ogunquit” exit immediately before (heading North) or after (heading South) the York Toll Booth.

Take the exit ramp to 1st set of lights; then bear right onto Route 1 South. Turn left at first set of lights to York Street (Route 1A); follow the road for approximately 1 mile into York Village and bear right at the fork.

The York Harbor Inn is located on the left side in York Harbor, just minutes North on Coas

Six Hours With the Top Down!

For the past 28 years, the city of Montreal has been the host to over 30,000,000 people who flock to the streets waiting to hear some of their favorite jazz performers. This year, two additional American writers would be included in this extremely festive event.

In May, a friend and I flew for six hours to get to Europe for a business trip. Two months later, we were off again, looking forward to another six-hours of travel, but this time we had to drive. No in-house movie to watch, no coffee or in-flight dinner would be served… just the bottled water and snack bars I packed for the ride.

It was hot and sunny when my cohort in crime, I mean travel buddy, arrived at my home in her candy-apple red convertible Mini Cooper. The top was down, and as I walked towards the car, I wondered where I would place my suitcase. “Just sling it in the back seat, and let’s go!” she said. The navigation system was already set and it (Navi Girl) informed us to take a right-hand turn out of my driveway. Uh duh… we knew that! Charlene put on her right blinker, pulled out of my driveway, and we were off with the hot sun hitting our face and shoulders, while the wind cruelly messed up our hair (ok, my hair… for some reason, hers did not get messy at all!).


Three hours into the trip, we decided it would be a great time to pull off the highway for a quick lunch and bathroom break. We headed towards Lincoln, New Hampshire to have lunch at one of her favorite restaurants.

We took the exit into downtown Lincoln, and Navi Girl was already telling us “If possible, make a legal U turn”. She wanted us back on the highway since we were off our planned route. “Shut that girl up I said… doesn’t she know humans have to eat?” A few miles off the highway, we pulled up to the Gypsy Café. For our meal, we treated ourselves to an appetizer followed by two desserts that we decided to share; a jaw-dropping, mouth-watering Cuban flan and a slice of coconut cream pie with two cappuccinos dusted with cinnamon. Keeping an eye on the time, we finished our dessert and got ourselves back on the road to make the 8:00 pm Winton Marselas concert. The sky was starting to look a bit ominous, but we just turned the music up louder and headed back towards Route 93 North, and Navi Girl was glad we were back on our destination course that she had set for us earlier.

As we approached Franconia Notch, a scenic portion of the White Mountains, we noticed that motorcycle drivers had pulled over to the side of the road to put on their rain gear. We wondered, at that moment, if we should put the top up on the convertible. We looked at each other for just a brief moment, knew what the other was thinking, and proceeded without another word about it. We were two women determined to get to The Montreal Jazz Festival… with the top down. As we drove higher into the low cloud cover in the mountains, the temperature kept dropping. We started the day off at 82 degrees, and now was 65 degrees. At this point there are goose bumps on my arms, but I decided that until they also show up on my legs I won’t even consider putting on my jacket. Then my dear friend, Charlene, reaches forward and flicks a switch. “Are you kidding me… this whole time we could have had heated seats?” Ahhh, that was much better. Then we see it… the sign that says “Danger – Cross Winds”. “Hold on!” she said (Charlene, not Navi Girl). With Charlene holding on tight to the steering wheel, that little car plowed through the wind chamber like the story book train that said “I think I can… I think I can”.

A few hours later, we arrived at the Canadian border. “Can you believe we made it here with only $1.25 in tolls and less than a tank of gas? I pay $3.00 just to get over the bridge in Boston”. We pulled up to the Customs window and presented our passports. We were asked the routine questions of “What brings you to Montreal? Do you have any explosives, fire arms, alcohol, or cigarettes? How long will you be staying?” After the interrogation, we were allowed to enter Canada. I am sure that Charlene was glad to drive away without getting a hands-on body check like she did at the airport just a couple of months before! Anticipating commuter traffic, we figured we should be at the hotel within the hour.

The downtown portion of Montreal was dressed up for the festival with signage, bright colored flags, and stages. It was all very impressive. Once we arrived at the press room, we collected information packets about this grand festival. The numbers were staggering… 658 total jazz performances were offered during this year’s festival and 346 of them were free! Thirty countries were represented and approximately 3,000 musicians performed. We were a bit late for our concert and, since this concert was being filmed for television, we had to wait to be seated between sets.

The next morning, we walked around Montreal and looked for Eggspectations, a restaurant that is known for their Eggs Benedict. After several zigs and zags up and down the streets of historic Montreal, the two of us finally found it. By this time we were starving, but we knew we needed to get back in time to get seats at the press conferences for Harry Connick Jr. and Sean Lennon. So, after a quick breakfast of traditional Eggs Benedict and two cups of coffee, we hurried back to the hotel for the interviews.

We made it with time to spare. We got a wonderful opportunity to meet and listen to two incredible and surprisingly humble men speak about their work, their family, and their reasons for attending the festival. Cameras were clicking and journalists were writing away. Harry Connick Jr. told stories to the press group that made us laugh out loud, and Sean Lennon’s poetic words moved us. We were both grateful to hear their inspiring stories. After the conference, plans were made to attend a few more concerts, eat some more food, and then enjoy some cocktails during the midnight (yes, midnight) Jam Session that was being held in the hotel lounge.

The next morning, it was time to head back home to reality and the daily grind. We had our breakfast, then called for the car to be pulled around to the valet station in the parking garage. Now that we knew how to read the word EXIT in French (we drove around a few times trying to get out a few days before), we were able to SORTIE the parking garage without any wrong turns.


After being stuck in traffic at Customs for more than an hour, then driving through cloud-covered mountains, then past open fields, we finally came to the Massachusetts border. It only seemed appropriate at that time to say in my best Navi Girl computer voice.
"If possible, make a legal U turn".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Myopia Hunt Club & Polo

Take a photo tour of the Myopia Hunt Club's Wine Tasitng and Trunk Show Event That I attended.

Polo games are every Sunday @ 3:00 pm - Routh 1A in S. Hamilton, MA.

Hampton Sun's Privet Bloom Parfum is Scentsational!


Ok, for those of you who follow my reviews, or know me personally, you know that I adore beautiful packaging and bottles. When I opened my gift of Hampton Son, I knew this fragrance would be one of my many favorites.

As I sample this liquid summer in a bottle, I appreciate that the the style of the packaging and white and green colors theme is well suited to the fragrance inside.

Privet Bloom features the aroma of privet hedges, found in the Hamptons, when in bloom... muguet, jasmine, linden blossom, gardenia, orangeflower, and dune rose are also part of this creation. Add a few finishing notes of driftwood and sun-warmed musk, and you have the scent of the Hamptons on a Summer day.

Privet Bloom is available in fine specialty retailers.

Available as a Eau de Parfum or Eau de Toilette in 1.7 oz bottles

Suggested retail prices $49.50 - $65.00



Just a little note about S&G Hampton Sun

S&G Hampton Sun is a privately-held company specializing in luxury sun and skin care products ranging from tanning oils, gels, and lotions, after-sun moisturizers, shimmer bronze creams and pearl cooling sprays, to everyday super-hydration face creams. Founded by Salvatore Piazzolla and Grant Wilfley, S&G Hampton Sun was created for consumers who wanted to minimize the hazardous effects of the sun while maximizing their time in the sun.

www.hamptonsuncare.com

It's Perfect!


With a name like Perfect Kiss, how can you not try it! Visions of soft lips and sexy nights are encapsulated in this one perfume.

Scents of blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, rosewood, followed by base notes of creamy vanilla and dark chocolate. Ladies, need I say more!

This line also includes fragrances called Perfect Veil, Perfect Gardenia, Perfect Nectar, Perfect Vanilla, and Perfect Bliss. I had the pleasure of trying the fragrances below.

Perfect Veil creates a soft smell against the skin. The scent almost has a soft powder fragrance. Very feminine, fresh, and clean. The top notes of lemon and bergamot are softened by a variety of musks, including Egyptian and Tunisian followed by notes of sandalwood and creamy vanilla.


Perfect Vanilla swept me away to a relaxed state of mind yet made me feel very sexy. With a collection of five different vanillas from around the world and hints of amber and blood orange keep it from being to sweet.

Perfect Bliss was inspired by a honeymoon on Tahiti. With tropical fruits, white gardenia, and vanilla it certainly does whisk my thoughts to my own tropical vacations.

Perfect Nectar is somewhat similar is style to Perfect Bliss, but instead of vanilla, a hint of oceanic musk has been added, creating an incredible juxtaposition of ocean and juicy fruit..


Beauty Comes From Within



In 2006, Sarah Horowitz-Thran was asked to develop a line a perfumes exclusively for Barney's and she called the line "What Comes From Within". With five fragrances to choose from, women can choose to wear the scent alone, or layer them to create their own personal creation.

Love Comes From Within was a hit with me as soon as I put it on. I love the scent of clove, and this fragrance has it, as well as...spicy carnation and rose (all scents I plant in my personal flower garden). There are warmer base notes of Tunisian amber, French vanilla, clean musk and Indian sandalwood. Simply stunning!

Joy Comes From Within prompts feelings of energy and life. Spicy nutmeg and hints of almond create the top note followed orange blossom then a base of creamy vanilla, tonka bean and musk.

Light Comes From Within is a crisp and floral scented perfume. With bergamot (another favorite of mine), freesia, honeysuckle and night blooming jasmine as the top and middle notes, you can't go wrong, but add fresh oceanic musk and sandalwood to the mix, and you have a deliciously sexy fragrance.

Peace From Within is a scent that can be worn by a mature woman as well as a teenager. It is has a clean and gentle quality to it. With a top note of bergamot (which is renowned for its ability to inspire mental clarity) is followed by a base note of fresh oceanic musk and sandlewood.

Beauty Comes From Within is my favorite choice of this particular line. At least it is today. I love to change fragrances with my moods and occasions. This is strong and sexy, but not overwhelming. Top notes of red plums and fresh cut grass capture vitality and sensuality. The middle notes of gardenia and pink peony add that little touch of femininity while the citrus rock rose gives a little zing. The base notes of watery musk, sandalwood, white amber, and hints of cedar convey a bit of mystery.

There are not enough O’s in smooth for this Scotch whisky!



Sorry the picture of the Scotch is blue. I don't know why that happened!

Years ago, as a pre-Scotch drinker, I thought that the Scotch being poured from its beautiful decanter into a crystal glass looked more like liquefied butterscotch than an alcoholic beverage. I couldn’t wait to try it! Well, to my disappointment, I found out that the Scotch whisky didn’t taste like butterscotch candy. Not looking for sweet anymore, but smooth without a bite, it took years for me to finally find a Scotch that came even close to my preconceived notion.

Recently, I tasted a 17 year old single malt Scotch whisky from Old Pulteney which I decided to try neat. When I poured it into my glass, the nose (aroma) gave off a soft hint of vanilla. After I tasted it and allowed the amber colored liquid to cover my tongue, it felt soft and silky. I even wondered if I tasted a hint of honey. The finish was light and smoky, and the lingering warmth it left was pleasant… not harsh. Ready to try it on the rocks, I added ice to my glass, took a sip, and I enjoyed my single malt Scotch whisky even more. Finally, I could drink a glass of Scotch whisky, along with my fellow tasters, with more appreciation.



Old Pulteny 17 year old has been recognized at the 2005 International Wine & Spirit Competition, and a double gold medal winner at the 2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This might be due to the fact that Old Pulteny uses unusual copper stills for production, followed by maturation in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

The suggested retail price of $79.99 is well worth it.


Previously written for New England Fine Living.com on 6-29-2007

A Blue Lagoon in a Bottle!


Finally, a cocktail that I was able to serve without any additional work. I received the 100ml four pack tote that was all set to go! All I had to do was take martini glasses out of my cabinet... add some crushed ice... and pour my first selection into the glass. The hardest part of this tasting experience was deciding which flavor to try first. Hmmm.... would it be the Cosmopolitan, the Blue Lagoon, the Appletini, or the Lemon Drop? With such a dilemma, I decided to go with the scientific approach. I followed the color spectrum of the rainbow. Thinking back to elementary school I remembered my rainbow reminder... (ROY G BIV) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. So our tasting went from the Cosmopolitan to the Lemon Drop, then the Appletini, to the Blue Lagoon. I thought for sure the Cosmopolitan was going to be my favorite, but the Blue Lagoon was awesome!



The four pack comes in a cute plastic carrying case with a ribbon and charm. Inside, the four bottles are neatly tucked into their own compartment, with matching straws placed in the center. If you don't have martini glasses and you still want a unique way to serve your cocktail, you can place the bottles in your freezer (just long enough to chill) and serve right out of the bottle with the color coordinated straws. This would be a great little surprise to pull out of your cooler at a party.



Cocktails by Jenn, a premium cocktail couturier, produces ready-to-drink, naturally flavored vodka martinis in both signature and limited edition flavors. The 100ml 4 pack (single flavor and variety pack) has a suggested retail price of $14.99 and the 750ml bottles sell for about $19.99. That's a bargain for me since I pay $7 - $9 for one martini.



Currently, you can find Cocktails By Jenn, in 43 states. and on the Internet at www.internetwines.com



Previously written in June 2007

This link has a great selection of cosmetics

Looking for just the right product? Let Beauty Bridge help you find it.


Mineral Makeup for Healthy Skin

Brooks Brothers for Women!

Did you think Brooks Brothers was just for men? Not So! They have some fabulous clothing for women. Check them out!




Add a little sizzle to your summer vacation!

Do you want to add a little more sizzle to your summer vacation? Check out Frederick's of Hollywood. Oh I won't tell a sole! I promise!


Frederick's of Hollywood, Inc.

This is a great spoof video on us New Englanders!

You can also view this video on our web site New England Fine Living.com

Southwest Airlines Offers Summer Travel Tips

Hot Day? Chill out! We've got you covered. Southwest Airlines has the coolest summer travel tips that will help you get on your way to those relaxing summer vacation spots. Traveling with the family can be stressful, and Southwest Airlines wants to help its Customers handle the busy travel season like a pro. Southwest Airlines' baggage policy allows Customers to check up to three bags (under 50 pounds each) absolutely free of charge. Southwest, knowing plans can change in the blink of an eye, also allows Customers to make changes to their itineraries without a change fee.

And if you haven't planned your vacation just yet, there's still time. Log on to www.southwest.com, where you can make reservations for flights, hotels, and rental cars. Southwest can get you where you wanna go, no sweat!

Travel tips to help you keep your cool this summer:

Early arrival is the key to survival.

You will enjoy a smoother travel experience if you get to the airport at least an hour ahead of your scheduled departure time. Check Southwest's web site, southwest.com, for updated travel information and suggested airport arrival times during peak travel periods. This summer will be a busy one, so allow plenty of time for parking and flight checkin.

The Internet is your friend.

southwest.com offers many features to help make traveling easier. You can check in online and print out boarding passes up to 24 hours before your flight. Many people set alarms to remind them to go online and check in early. Impress your friends by having that sound you hear on our commercials and download DING!, a desktop application that alerts subscribers of fare sales that are only available for a few hours at a time.

The 411 on the 3-1-1.The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently limiting liquids, gels, and/or aerosols in carryon baggage. Customers are presently allowed to bring with them one clear, transparent, resealable, one quart (1 liter) size, plastic bag containing liquids, gels, and/or aerosols in containers of three ounces (90ml) capacity or less per container. (Most "travel size" items found in grocery and convenience stores are 3 ounces or less.) The contents of the plastic bag must fit comfortably within and be completely closed/sealed.

Chilling at the gate.

While maybe not as fun as chilling at the beach, if children older than age five and under age 12 are traveling alone, parents must arrive at the gate an hour before departure to check their child in; and parents should not leave until their child's plane has taken off. Also, make sure to bring plenty of books, games, and snacks to keep children entertained during the flight.

"You have to wait 30 minutes after eating before you can go flying."

Just kidding. But now that we have your attention, it's a good idea to pick up your favorite meal before jumping on a Southwest flight. The carrier offers complimentary soft drinks, juices, and light snacks on all flights; however, Southwest does not serve inflight meals.

Remember the person behind you would like to use the bin, too.

As you are cramming your shopping bag, suit coat, straw hats, and newly purchased plastic flamingo into the overhead bin, remember to leave some space for other Customers. Customers are permitted to carry one bag, plus one smaller, personal item onboard. All carryon baggage must fit in a sizing box (16"x 10"x 24") and must be stowed in overhead bins or below the seat in front of the Customer. We suggest Customers only pack valuables, medications, eyeglasses, and other essential items in carryon luggage. Your fellow travelers will think you.

What are those Flight Attendants talking about?

You will learn many important tips in our preflight safety announcement. In all seriousness (yes, we can be serious), safety comes first at Southwest Airlines. Be sure to take a moment to familiarize yourself with all emergency procedures.


Something to pop a wheelie about!

Southwest Airlines will now check your bicycle for free. That's right…as long as the bicycle is packed in a hard-sided bicycle case and falls within the dimensions and weight limits for normal checked baggage, we will accept it as one of the three free pieces of checked luggage Southwest allows for each Customer.

Konstantino Creates Modern Expressions of Ancient Greek Jewelry

Athens, Greece - Konstantino Sioulas was born in Athens and raised amid the beauty and majesty of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. “My father was a huge influence in my life. He taught me constantly about Greek philosophy, history and art,” explains Sioulas.

Enthralled with Greek history and the rich legacy of Greek gods and goddesses, Konstantino developed an endless fascination with the artisanship of the earliest Greek jewelry designs. “This is why our jewelry is different from any other. Our designs are timeless and universal. They come from the core of civilization and the elements of the modern world,” he explains.

Throughout time, artisans have paid homage to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. In his Konstantino's own tribute to this magnificent goddess, Konstantino has devoted a lifetime to creating modern expressions of ancient Greek jewelry. “Greece, for me, is a land of magnificent contrasts. Blinding light and forbidding darkness. Crashing seas and arid farmland. Frenetic cosmopolitan cities amid ancient ruins and lost temples.”

Konstantino continues, “As a boy, my playground was the architecture of the Acropolis, the Temple of Delphi. My village, Melitea, belonged to the warrior Achilles of Troy. Knowing this; that this famous warrior from Greek history had actually lived in MY birthplace had a lifelong affect on me and all these ancient elements are etched in my soul, so every piece I design posses my essence, my experiences, and my passion for Greece.”

Konstantino uses the ancient engraving and etching techniques found in early Greek jewelry. Look for the echoes of history in each piece, feel their timeless craftsmanship and enduring beauty; this is Konstantino.


For Purchase:

Konstantino is available at Neiman Marcus, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Fine Jewelers throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Japan and Greece.

More information may be found at www.KonstantinoTreasures.com

When you think of Maine do you think of Wine?

Many of us from New England associate Maine for its beautiful coast, light houses and of course lobster, but how about wine? Below, you will find some information that might surprise you. If you get to visit any of these wineries, I would love to hear your thoughts.



Cellar Door Winery and Vineyards

One of the few wine makers in Maine growing their own grapes. The vineyards are set on 68 acres of rolling fields in the coastal town of Lincolnville adjacent to the north boundary of Camden Hills State Park. Cold weather grapes are pressed and cellar-aged to create varieties of white and red table wines. The winery also makes a Maine blueberry wine. Stroll through the vineyard or visit the gift shop and tasting room.



Bartlett Maine Estate Winery

For more than 20 years this winery has specialized in sophisticated fruit wines made with native flavors. Bartlett uses locally grown apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pears and peaches to create distinctive aperitifs, whites, reds, and sweet dessert wines that capture the essence of Maine. The winery is located in Gouldsboro on the scenic Schoodic Peninsula east of Mount Desert Island. A tasting room and retail shop are open May through October.


Blacksmiths Winery

This winery in the town of South Casco near Sebago Lake produces a wide variety of wines with local fruits and hand picked grapes from the state of Washington. Blacksmiths offers a cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay,merlot, pino grigio, sangiovese, vidal blanc, and sparkling blueberry and cranberry among other selections. The tasting room and gift shop are open year round.


Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery

On a working farm in the midcoast town of Union, Elmer and Holly Savage grow eight varieties of hybrid wine grapes and their own blueberries. This year will be the first vintage for Savage Oakes, and with grapes like marechal foch, leon millot, Cayuga white, and seyval blanc, the wines should be a treat. The winery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday mid-May through the fall.

Wondering how to start a wine collection of your own?

I''m not sure about you, but whenever I try to start a wine collection, I seem to open and enjoy the bottles faster than I can collect them, but David Icken, Managing Partner and Wine Director of The Capital Grille in Burlington, MA. offers suggestions to beginners on how to start their own collections.

In building a wine list for the new restaurant, opened on March 26, David sampled hundreds of selections, aiming for a diverse, value-conscious wine list. He whittled down his choices to 350 unique selections from around the world.

So, how should the wine enthusiast begin to build his own collection? David offers the following advice:

Explore Spain: Wines coming out of Spain’s Priorato region provide an excellent value because they are often still produced by small farmers rather than large estates. A $40 Rioja will often drink like a $100 bottle.

Discover Germany: The Mosul region produces some phenomenal wines for exceptional value. David especially enjoys Dr. Fischer wines, which are elegant, sweet Rieslings that balance well with seafood, such as the restaurant’s popular pan-fried calamari.

Head South: Try the Southern Hemisphere. David looks to Mendoza, in Argentina, and the Maipo Valley, in Chile, for the region’s most enjoyable wines. In Australia, David looks beyond the typical Shiraz for Pinots and Rieslings, several of which appear on the restaurant’s “Wine by the Glass” menu.

Think Beyond Napa: While David’s collection for The Capital Grille, Burlington, includes several bottles of 1999 and 2000 Napa Cabernet, two of the area’s best vintages, he also recommends Cabernet from all over California, such as from Paso Robles.

Enjoy Your Collection: While prize bottles are nice, a wine collection is a waste if it languishes in the cellar. Be sure to include plenty of $10-15 bottles you can enjoy on a regular basis.

Don't use the good white wine to remove a stain unless absolutely necessary!

On a recent dinner at La Cavedrne de Geulhem, just outside of Maastricht in the Netherlands, one of the wine judges had red wine splashed on his evening shirt. Quicker than you could blink, a bottle of white wine was uncorked, and used to remove the red stain. I could not believe how well it worked, but if they had OxiClean Spray-A-Way, we would have had one more bottle of wine to enjoy!

Here are some tips from OxiClean for your wine woes.

For fresh wine stains while away from your home, simple spray on OxiClean Spray-A-Way Instant Stain Remover, the new on-the-go stain remover from OxiClean, blot, and watch the stain disappear!

For set-in stains on clothing, cloth napkins or tablecloths, first pre-treat the spot with OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover. Then, let the item sit for five minutes and launder with your regular detergent and a capful of OxiClean Stain Fighter.

If that wine ends up on your carpet, simply blot away excess moisture, mix a scoop of OxiClean Versatile Stain remover with water and apply to the stain. Then, let the solution soak for a few minutes, blot and rinse with clean water. You’ll never even know the stains existed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Check out some of the spirits we have reviewed

click here to visit our spirit review page on neFineLiving.com

Blinc Mascara Review

By Linda Calder:



I've had the pleasure of testing Blinc mascara, and when I first opened the box, my teenage daughter was right there ready to grab whatever popped out of the box first. Luckily for me, my little grasshopper does not have the swift hand and eye coordination that comes with many years of mall training. I was able to scoop the products into my hand before she was even able to bat her beautiful brown eyelashes. "Ahh... my little grasshopper, don't worry, you will soon be able to master the speed of shopping". I guess I need to take her to some more training at Sephora during a new product launch.



Any hooo... I was looking forward to trying this product. I first heard about it when a client of mine told me she worked for Hospice, and we started talking about crying. Well, I have to tell you, she was the best ad campaign for Blinc mascara! She raved about how she could cry and rub her eyes without the tiniest bit of smudge, or should I say... McSmudge. Since I am a habitual sobber, even during Hallmark commercials, I had to try it!



To begin with, I have very long lashes. If I am not careful, I end up looking like Raggedy Ann. My friends hate when I complain that my lashes are hitting the lenses of my sunglasses. Curling for me is a must, but I must have lashes of steel. I am never able to get a curl to stay. Since I am a makeup addict, I don't mind the extra steps that it might take to make a "look" work. I first tried the heated curler from Blinc. It did put a nice curve on my lashes, but I was hoping for a little more. When I first stroked the wand of Blinc's mascara on my lashes, I was pleasantly surprised that there was absolutely no clumping. I proceeded to place the second coat on my lashes and was amazed at how my eyelashes looked. Now that the mascara was dry, I had to try something that was not recommended in my enclosed instructions. I used the heated curler on my lashes after the mascara set. Hallelujah! I got the best curl ever! Is it wrong to use it after? I don't know, but when I got comments from friends and family on how awake and happy I looked, I giggled and said "It's my curled lashes!"



I was addicted to my waterproof liner, and thought that I would never find a better product, but after using Blinc's liner, I felt a "Dear John" letter coming on. This new liner, I was trying, touched me in just the right way. I thought all liquids would feel the same gliding on, but this one was different. It felt very light and watery, but not runny. I did have to let it set a bit longer than my other liner, but the maximum wear is well worth it.



One thing I did want to mention is this. For years, I thought I was fighting a case of dark circles under my eyes, but since I started using Blinc, I found that the darkness under my eyes was residue from my other makeup lines! I thought I was getting it all with my makeup remover. Even though the cost of Blinc's mascara is more than my other line, I don't have the expense of having to buy a remover, and I don't have to spend any extra time taking it off. The mascara and liner lasted during my huge crying bout while watching "The Notebook" and it lasted during swimming in our pool and the ocean. The only time I found it wanted to come off was during time in our hot tub. Yeah Duh! Hot water and steam, this is all that is needed to gently slide the tubes off my lashes... how could I forget. I was pleased to find that if I did not touch my lashes, the mascara seemed to reset itself. I'll have to ask the company if this is possible.

Villas for Rent in Napa and Bordeaux

Sharon Harris, Wine Lover and Francophile, Restored and Built Two Luxury Wine Villas



Available For Rent - One In Napa, One In Bordeaux


While her husband, John Harris, was busy building Napa Valley's Amici wine brand, Sharon Harris took on the formidable task of building, restoring and furnishing two lavish wine villas -- one in the Napa Valley and one in St. Emilion in Bordeaux.

She rents both villas to fine wine lovers all over the world; those who really appreciate luxury and beauty in every detail and can afford the $25,000 to $36,000 a month rent, depending on the season.

The villa in Calistoga, at the North end of the Napa Valley, is not just Tuscan inspired, but has a view that rivals any in Tuscany -- beautiful vineyard-covered hills and only one other house in sight. The 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom beautifully furnished house has every amenity
including two pools and expansive outdoor living where you can sip fine wine in the evening and watch the sunset glow on the surrounding hillside.

The Bordeaux villa has four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms and can sleep 8. It is right in the heart of great wine country in St. Emilion, one of the most famous names of Bordeaux. "We wanted to keep the old world charm of the villa but combined it with modern luxuries that international wine lovers would appreciate." It is unique for Bordeaux. You can sip Bordeaux
wine in the garden while overlooking vineyards known in Roman history. Restaurants, wine shops and classes, galleries and shopping are within an easy walk.

Harris's keen interest in wine has led her to France many times starting with a passion for France and French culture when she was still in high school. To prove her interest she took a year in college at the University of Bordeaux and had her first tastes of great wines. After
graduating UCLA in International Economics, she took a bottom rung job at a two star restaurant in Bordeaux, St. James with Jean Marie Amat. She worked from 4 a.m. to late at night but perfected her French in a hurry along with large portions of humility.

In 2004, now married and with her company sold, she and her husband enrolled in a famous wine course given at the oenology department at the University of Bordeaux. She graduated the difficult course, given entirely in French. So with her love of wine, Napa and Bordeaux, in 2005 Harris decided to build and restore the Napa and Bordeaux villas. She says, "I love talking to people about Bordeaux and Napa, helping wine lovers fall in love with these two great wine regions. Mostly, it is about making personal connections for people, creating personal experiences for people around wine, food and friends. Bordeaux has changed drastically in the last 25 years; it is now a beautiful city, welcoming wine lovers
from around the world."

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Maastricht Spring 2007

Take a short trip with me to Maastricht - Netherlands.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fine Living in New England


I would like to welcome you to visit our web site http://www.newenglandfineliving.com . This site is full of information, articles, reviews, and so much more. If you would like a product reviewed or a story posted, please send us an e-mail Linda@newenglandfineliving.com

Wines served in the proper glassware at the Meritage in Boston, MA


Enjoy the 1,000+ Wines Served in Proper Glassware at Meritage


At Meritage at the Boston Harbor Hotel, wine enthusiasts are ensured that a good glass of wine is not limited to the pour. Meritage introduces an array of Spiegelau glassware, a complete set, for the best possible wine experience. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, German glassmaker Spiegelau crafts well balanced, durable stemware tailored to enhance the specific characteristics of each type of wine. Complimenting the vast stores of wine offered at Meritage, these customized designs allow the drinker to truly appreciate the nuanced differences among more complex wines. Meritage provides guests with the following glass types:


Champagne – The design and function of this sleek and narrow flute-shaped bowl highlights the delicate aromas and subtle flavors of champagne and captures the pearl-like bubbles, revealing their delicate notes as they explode on the wine’s surface.


Small white wine – Designed for fresh and light wines such as a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.


Large white wine/white Burgundy – Contoured for more robust white wines, this glass features a slightly wider bowl.


Burgundy – The generous pear-shaped bowl allows the more mature, high quality, low-tannin aromatic wines to breathe openly.


Bordeaux – The elegant full-sized bowl reveals the rich aromas of a full, highly tannic red wine and permits the drinker to fully capture its essence.


Port/Sherry – Intended to display the intense aromas of these fortified wines, which typically possess a higher alcohol content.


Sauternes/dessert – Wider bowl shaped to display the multifaceted aromas of these intensely sweet whites.


For more information, or to make a reservation call (617) 439-3995.
About Meritage:


Meritage, at the Boston Harbor Hotel, features fresh, seasonal cuisine impeccably matched to the primary characteristics of wine. As part of Meritage’s unique concept, large and small plates are offered for each item on the menu and matched with complementary wine flavors. The restaurant is the culmination of Chef Daniel Bruce’s 18 years as Chef for the Boston Wine Festival. Meritage, a Mobil Four-Star restaurant and recipient of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, features one of New England’s most extensive and distinctive wine collections. For more information, visit the Meritage website at http://www.bhh.com/ or call 617.439.3995.

G'Vine Gin is D'Vine!


Gin and Bear it… There’s a new kid in town!

I was introduced recently to G’Vine, the only white spirit distilled from a grape spirit, starring the vine flower and boasts a soft and delicate floral bouquet. Unlike the other heavier scented gin that sits on my private bar, this newcomer to my collection has a smooth and satisfying combination of nine botanicals which have been chosen for their purity and aromatic properties. The tantelizing blend of ginger root, liquorice, green cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, juniper berries, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime, make it a unique and light gin that can be enjoyed on its own or in a mixed drink. After opening the beautifully packaged gin in its’ clear and citrus green colored bottle, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of a strong alcohol aroma. The essence of lime was the primary scent, followed by a licorice flavor on the tip of my tongue. I was able to sip my G’Vine Gin without any other added ingredients, which made this taste test a pleasure.

Rarely drunk on its own, gin is a relatively dry spirit making it a great base for a simple drink such as gin and tonic, as well as the more exotic drinks with multiple additives such as a Pink Lady. The G’Vine infusion, which has been created by EuroWineGate, is unique to the gin family. The rare green grape flower, which lasts just two weeks after blossoming in June, is handpicked and carefully macerated into the Ugni Blanc grape spirit grown in the region of Cognac. In a second step, the neutral grape spirit which is must smoother and more suave than the traditional grain spirit, is then distilled in small batches. After which the rare combination of botanicals listed above is added. “We have combined the best of fine French craftsmanship with innovative distillation techniques to create G’Vine” said Jean-Sebastien Robiquet, founder and master distiller of EuroWineGate. “Gin is the original flavored vodka and G’Vine, with its combination of pure grape neutral spirit, whole-fruit botanicals, and infusion of vine flowers reflects the same value offerings driving the vodka segment today.” How can you not have a wonderful product to offer when you have a partner like Bruno Roux de Reilhac, as well as an elite team of people coming from the wine & spirits, perfumes & cosmetics, and food engineering industry?

If you are on a quest for a gin that is different from the rest, give G’Vine a try. Currently, the initial distribution will be in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York City, Washington, DC, as well as Upstate New York. Once these lucky states receive G”Vine, there will be an aggressive expansion into the rest of the United States. With a suggested retail price of $38, G’Vine will be the rave at your next social event or during your own private tasting experience.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Pedicure by Mail!


I confess, I love to be pampered, and with my hectic schedule, there never seems to be enough time. The package I received from Sunflower Hill was the answer. As soon as I opened the box, not quite sure what was inside, my senses were awakened by the soft hint of peppermint. I was intrigued to find out more about the contents of this box.

Packaged to perfection was a four piece pedicure set from Sunflower Hill, http://www.sunflowerhillsoap.com , which is located in Hollis Center, Maine. The foot soak, soap, creme, and pedi-slippers were all encased in a clear vinyl bag topped with purple boa feathers.

I opened the bag and the scent of peppermint was now, undeniable. I filled my tub with just enough hot water to start my night of self pampering. The foot soak felt wonderful. Before the granules of softening dead sea salts melted, I ran my feet over them as part of my spa experience. Then I followed up with the foot care soap. I must say the only draw back to this product was that the packaging was so good! I had trouble getting the protective wrap off of the dual-sided soap. The pumice, which was encapsulated with some of the creamy soap, worked through to the surface as I rubbed it over my tired feet.

Now, I was ready for the foot creme. After rubbing on the whipped concoction of shea butter, grape seed oil, and peppermint oil, I was left with a unique cooling and tingling sensation. After completing the pedicure steps, I slipped on the enclosed pedi-slippers, grabbed my nail polish color of the week, and proceeded to complete my home pedicure. No, I won't forget where my local spa and pedicure chair is, but my boa topped bag will certainly get more visits!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Create your own private resort


Bring the time-honored spa experience indoors. And add to the relaxing spa ritual the therapeutic benefits of hydro-massage and aromatherapy. Suddenly your home feels like your own private resort.
Designed to be the centerpiece of a health-and-wellness room, family room, solarium or bathing room, the Jason Home Spa http://www.jasoninternational.com/products/index.cfm?page=collection_homespa, is a fill-and-drain Air-Whirlpool bath with a capacity of up to three adult persons and convenient features such as tri-level seating, separate controls for dual therapy and dual heaters to maintain water temperature. An automatic aromatherapy dispenser and Sound Immersion System complete the experience.

No more agony of "DeFeet"


Dainty Footings’ new Step 'N Style Gift Set- is a women’s high heel designer shoe cushion set specifically designed just for sexy yet painful high heel shoes.
These are not your husband’s Dr. Scholl’s.

Ok Ladies,

I know I am not alone when it comes to the aching feet syndrome that occurs once we slip our feet into beautiful pair of high heeled shoes. Well, I just received this information about a product that was made just for us!

Dainty Footings’ new Step 'N Style Gift Set comes wrapped in a white silk bag with white ribbons (photo above left). Each set contains one pair each of Revive Insoles, Ball-of-Foot cushions, Heel cushions, and Heel liners – all in cream or black. The high-tech cushions fit in all size and shape high heels and shoes – providing maximum shock absorption reducing foot, leg, and back pain. The retail price is $27.95.


What makes Dainty Footings http://daintyfootings.com unique? They have passed USP Class VI toxicology testing, they’re ergonomically correct unlike gimmicky similar products, and are made with Poron - a substance derived from nanotechnology used in Europe for more than a decade that absorbs impact better than latex foam, rubber, gels and neoprene. It is also breathable, odorless, and hypo-allergenic - keeping feet cool, dry (whisks moisture away from skin on feet), stink-free, and blister-free. It would take six months to break down with repeated daily wear.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Once you've flown NetJets, nothing else even comes close.


A couple of years ago, I met a gentleman that owned his own jet, or should I say he was a fractional owner. I never heard of this concept of part ownership. What a great idea! When I came across this Web site, I thought some of you might be interested in this purchasing option.

The following information is from the NetJets Web site www.netjets.com .

In 1986, NetJets pioneered the concept of fractional jet ownership, giving individuals and businesses all the benefits of whole aircraft ownership and more at a fraction of the cost. Today, NetJets is the worldwide leader with the most Owners, the most experience, and the largest fleet.
Few investments have the power to transform your life in the way a NetJets share will.
As a NetJets Owner, you’ll gain the freedom and control to make the most of your time – and your life – whether you travel for business or leisure. You’ll have a jet ready to take you whenever and wherever you want to go with as little as four hours notice. You’ll have a company committed to making your ownership experience truly superior. And most important, you’ll have a company where safety is and always will be non-negotiable.

Using your five senses to decorate

How many of you have walked into a beautiful shop and said "I wish my home could be like this!" What was it about the shop that you like? Was it the furniture? The accessories? The way things were arranged? These are likely reasons, but what about the not so obvious. Lets' take a step through the door again, but this time lets' use our five senses.

You approach the store with its beautiful lettered windows and window boxes popping with the seasons most beautiful flowers and greenery. Your hand touches the cool brass handle of the entry door while reading the sign "Welcome Please Come In". As you push open the door the sound of the old fashioned country bell, that is attached to the top of the door, rings as if it is magically welcoming you to the shop. You are greeted with the most pleasing scent. A scent that brings you back in your memories or a scent so calming you wish you could stay forever as well as a greeting from the shop owner.

While wandering around the shop you finally realize the music in the background is very complementary to the shops interiors and products. You almost feel as if you are in another place or time, until that is, you look out the store front windows and you see the hustle and bustle of the real world that you just came from. You decide to stay a little longer and allow yourself to dream. While walking around the shop, you find a beautiful glass container filled with beautiful foil covered confections. You help yourself to a piece of the candy, unwrap the golden foil and place it on your tongue to savor the flavor. If you are like me, you savor it as long as possible since this might be the only lunch you get that day.

Now your wandering around the shop, picking up beautiful pillows, touching cashmere throws, feeling the cool silverware, and inhaling the the smell of each and every candle and bath product. Items are placed so that you are able to touch each product, your tempted to pick them up, which allow visions of how these wonderful items will look in your home. Even books welcome you to flip through their glossy pages. One of each book is available for viewing while the other companions are tied with french ribbons as if waiting to be purchased as that special gift.

You notice that the shop is neat and tidy, the counter top is cleared of clutter with a beautiful arrangement of flowers that look fresh picked from the shop owners gardens or fields. After placing your finds on the counter, your purchase is placed in several sheets of crisp tissue paper of periwinkle and sage, then it is gently placed in a paper gift bag clearly marked with the shops name. You even notice the shop owner places a newsletter, with a bag of tea attached to it, inside your bag to enjoy later at your leisure. What a wonderful experience. A few stolen moments in a shop can really help us through a hectic day.

Now I ask you.... How many of you use the five senses in your home or place of business? Even if you have a home office, do you have items in your room that can make you feel welcome? It does take a little effort and imagination to create these effects, but adding a bit of ambiance to your home the same way the businesses do will give you and your guests the same wonderful feeling as the shops do. Think of what your home is like when you enter. Where can you add accents and accessories? Do you want to burn scented candles, add potpourri or use the commercial plug in type fragrances in your home? How about the color of your walls... are they a welcoming or warm color? Does it represent your personality? You can even add a new area rug, a throw on the sofa, accent pillows. Have a collection of your favorite music ready to play or your favorite radio station set to go at a touch of a button. The possibilities are endless.

Make some notes the next time you visit your favorite shop to see (or should I say see... touch... smell... taste... and hear) what it is that makes you feel so welcome.


Saturday, February 3, 2007

I have been asked several times about the Google adsense ads on all of my sites and if they have been beneficial. Well, I decided to put the adsense ads on my site http://www.newenglandfineliving.comwhen I realized I just did not have the time anymore to go out and sell advertising space as well as write articles, research companies, write reviews, and run my full time interior design business. When I heard about Google adsense, I thought it might be a way of helping to pay for the monthly fees involved with running the web sites. So far, it has helped with those extra expenses and I highly recommend adding it to your site too, especially if you have high traffic visits.

Just like the AGLOCO, there is no fees to pay and it is free and easy to sign on. If at any time I decide I want to take the adsense links off my site, it can be done with a simple click.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Listening to Music While Cleaning your Home or Office

I don't know about you, but cleaning is not one of my fortes. Sure I enjoy a clean house, it seems to bring me more energy, and clear thinking, but with my busy schedule I am ashamed to say that it is not always first on the list. Today was the day that I actually scheduled a cleaning time, but first I created an atmosphere that helped me enjoy the task just a bit more.

Today the cloud cover is heavy since we are expecting snow and I did not want start a fire in the fireplace since I ould not be able to sit down in front of it to enjoy (yet), so I lit the
Votivo aromatic candles that I have scattered around my home. Then I put on some great music to help lift my spirits. George Winston's December, Piano Solos: 20th Anniversary Edition is one of my favorites. I remember when I was selling real estate in the 80's (oh... I feel so old when I say that) I used to play his CD's during the open houses to set the mood along with the old trick of baking cookies in the oven.

Today I found that the cleaning went a little smoother than usual, just because of my music and candles. Now I am going to get ready to make myself some lunch and possibly put some logs in the fireplace. Then reality will set in. I brought home 4 client projects to work on.

What do you like to do to help get you in the mood for cleaning to make it a little less of a chore and more like a treat?

Is Agloco the new Google?

I usually find out about potential life altering or investment information before it is to late, but I stumbled across a press release about Agloco that I found intriguing. Why? Because this company is offering a way for us to make money by doing what most of us already do, and this is search the web. It will be somewhat like owning a part of the company because we are helping them grow.

Can you imagine getting paid and not doing anything extra other than filling out a simple form then telling your friends about Agloco? I know I am going to give it a try and it would be great if we could start our own Agloco network! By just clicking on this link, you will be able to get a lot more information about this new company and if you decide, there is an easy to fill out form on that page.
http://www.agloco.com/r/BBBS6814 .

What is AGLOCO™ all about?

AGLOCO™ is the first Internet based economic network, which enables you as a Member to Get your share of the Internet. Advertiser's, search companies, online merchants and other businesses currently pay lots of companies to deliver people like you to them for attention and commerce. With AGLOCO™ they will be paying YOUR company. AGLOCO™ is also a global community of Internet users whose active Members can paid for all their online activity. By downloading our proprietary Viewbar™ technology, members benefit from engaging content tailored to their interests. AGLOCO™ also pays its members to refer their friends to the community (and for those friends to refer more friends through four levels of extended referrals.)

How do I earn cash and shares?

Sign up, use the web as usual and earn cash and shares - it really is that simple. Once you install the Viewbar™ software it automatically records the time you're actively online, and we pay you for it. But the first step is to sign up and become a member. It's fast and it's free. If you refer your friends and family we'll pay you even more cash and shares.

How do referrals work?

AGLOCO™ pays you an hourly rate when the friends and family who you recruit use the web while using the Viewbar™ (they're called "direct referrals"), and for people your referrals recruit ('extended referrals'). Extended referrals continue for four levels past your original referral, and there is no limit to the number of referrals you can accumulate. http://www.agloco.com/r/BBBS6814

Dengue Fever Can Ruin Your Luxury Vacation

Maybe I should call this post "Linda's Not Such Luxury Living", but with this little bit of information I just researched, I hope to save you from a luxury vacation gone bad. Many of us are currently planning a warm weather vacation now that the winter is upon us. I myself am planning a trip to the Caribbean, so this information came to me as a shock. A friend of mine recently returned from her island vacation with an extremely high fever, fatigue, the shakes, and spots on her body. After being taken to the hospital, she was diagnosed with Dungue fever which was caused by a mosquito bite. After a few days, her white blood cell count dropped so low she had to be hospitalized. I have never heard of this disease, since I lead a pretty sheltered life, so I pulled some information off the CDC web site to learn a little more about it. I am including the information below for you to read too. Seems kind of strange to be buying bug spray with DEET in the middle of winter, but I know I will be packing that before I leave along with all of the other stomach and headache items I have already packed.

Dengue Fever

Description

Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are viral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, usually Ae. aegypti. The four dengue viruses (DEN-1 through DEN-4) are immunologically related, but do not provide cross-protective immunity against each other.

Occurrence

Dengue, a rapidly expanding disease in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world, has become the most important arboviral disease of humans. More than 2.5 billion persons now live in areas at risk of infection, and attack rates for reported disease in epidemics are in the range of 1 per thousand to 1 per hundred of the population. Infection rates (that is, proportion of the population that is infected, including persons who do not get severe symptoms or are not reported) can be five- to ten-fold greater. The case-fatality ratio for DHF averages about 5% worldwide, but can be kept below 1% with proper clinical management. Epidemics caused by all four virus serotypes have become progressively more frequent and larger in the past 25 years. As of 2004, dengue fever is endemic in most tropical countries of the South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa (see Maps 4-1 and 4-2). Additionally, most tropical urban centers in these regions have multiple dengue virus serotypes co-circulating (hyperendemicity), which increases dengue transmission and the risk of DHF. Future dengue incidence in specific locales cannot be predicted accurately, but a high level of dengue transmission is anticipated in all tropical areas of the world for the indefinite future. The incidence of the severe disease, DHF, has increased dramatically in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and the American tropics in the past 25 years, with major epidemics occurring in many countries every 3-5 years. The first major epidemic in the Americas occurred in Cuba in 1981, and a second major epidemic of DHF occurred in Venezuela in 1989-1990. Since then, outbreaks, sporadic cases, or both, of confirmed DHF have occurred in most tropical American countries. After an absence of 35 years, several autochthonous cases of dengue fever occurred in southern Texas in 1980, 1986, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999, associated with imported cases and epidemic dengue in adjacent states in Mexico. After an absence of 56 years, a limited outbreak of dengue fever occurred in Hawaii in 2001, associated with imported cases and epidemic dengue in the South Pacific.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Designing a room on the ocean

Today, I started working on a room that I am redecorating for a decorators showhouse, that will be open to the public this Spring. While I was there, I could not help but wonder what it would be like to wake up every morning in that home which sat right on the oceans edge. You could hear the sound of the ocean waves right out the window. I was lucky enough to win the bid on the ladies sitting room and I can't wait to see the finished product. We chose the color Cayman Island for the walls with dove white as the trim. The fabrics are all going to be in the family of soft beige with a touch of blue as accents. A writing desk will be set under the window so that visitors coming through the home, can imagine sitting and writing a hand written note to an old friend. A quote I will be adding to the room is "To much of a good thing can be wonderful" Mae West . Sure, I can imagine living there could be a pure luxury, but I also have to keep in mind the repairs and upkeep homeowners on the ocean have to contend with, especially with our Hurricanes and Nor'easters.

Do you have a home on the ocean? What are your thoughts or stories?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Create Stylish Rooms that Expand as Children Grow

Serena & Lily will expand its current line of coveted nursery linens with the introduction of 15 new signature children's bedding collections that follow the color scheme and motifs presented in their most popular nursery collections. These new designs, coupled with a range of coordinating lamps, headboards, gliders, rugs and complimentary new paint colors, have the longevity to carry Serena & Lily's sophisticated nursery style through every stage of a child's life.

Year after year, parents are investing more and more in their child's nursery. According to Kids Today magazine and statisticians at Easy Analytic Software Inc., sales of infant furniture totaled $1.2 billion in 2005 and are estimated to increase 24% by 2010. Families are breaking away from themed throw-away styles and moving toward products that are higher in quality and built to last. With this in mind, Serena & Lily have designed new products that offer a high return for parents who have invested the time and money to create their perfect nursery. The company's philosophy is that its sophisticated baby designs can naturally extend to children's rooms as well.

"Theme driven nurseries pinpoint a moment in time and will continually have to be updated as the child grows," says Serena Dugan, co-owner of Serena & Lily. "Our line makes the original design scheme expandable. Changing out the nursery as your child grows should be a simple and cost-effective endeavor. We want parents to be able to grow the look and feel of their child's nursery with minimal effort and expense."
To accompany the 15 newly released collections of twin to queen bedding, the 2007 line includes gliders, lamps, rugs, upholstered headboards and a beautiful palette of non-toxic paint. The product line will be in stores February 2007.

About Serena & Lily
Lily Kanter met Serena Dugan in October of 2003 and the idea to form a new company blossomed within an hour of knowing each other. Serena & Lily officially launched in mid-2004 quickly becoming a favorite of A-list celebrities including Jennifer Garner, Britney Spears, Elizabeth Vargas and Hollywood designer-to-the-stars, Monique Lhuillier. The pair has authored a book on design titled Nursery Style that will be available from Chronicle Books in Fall 2007.

The company has a mission to give back to the community as a socially responsible business, donating 5% of profits to carefully chosen causes that work to impact and improve the lives of children. Powered by this larger activism, and a hands-on approach to giving, the partners are committed to "making the world a better place, one baby at a time."

Fashion at the Park

NorthPark Center (http://www.northparkcenter.com/ ), host of Cadillac Presents Fashion at the Park, has announced its designer line-up for the March 7-10 event, featuring 15 shows on a full-scale 180-foot H-shaped runway.

For the first time Vogue is collaborating with a luxury shopping center as a national media partner. This partnership elevates the growing presence of fashion locally and brings the best of Dallas shopping to women across the country through a Vogue studio-designed eight-page section, a fashion retrospective and exhibit, planned programming on their nationally syndicated TV show Trend Watch and through entertaining podcasts available on iTunes or VogueFashionOnDemand.com.

Running March 7-31, Vogue and NorthPark Center are proud to showcase 30 images from In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine (Rizzoli, New York 2006) in a fashion retrospective and exhibit in celebration of Fashion at the Park. The exhibit is open to the public at no charge.

Fashion at the Park begins Wednesday, March 7 with the Salvatore Ferragamo cocktail reception and runway show featuring their women's and men's spring/summer collection last seen in Milan. Graeme Black, womenswear designer, and Massimiliano Giornetti, menswear designer, will be in attendance. Both events will benefit The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art.

The show schedule includes designer collections from these NorthPark retailers: Barneys New York, CH Carolina Herrera, Custo Barcelona, Diesel, Dillard's, Intermix, Lilly Pulitzer, Macy's,MNG by Mango, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Oscar de la Renta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ted Baker and Vilebrequin.

The final day concludes with a closing gala hosted by Neiman Marcus, NorthPark Center and The Mansion on Turtle Creek benefiting the Dallas Public Library for Children at NorthPark Center.

A 15,000-square-foot luxury tent complex located between Nordstrom and Macy'swill house the Fashion Tent, which includes 500 reserved seats. A tiered layout accommodates maximum visibility with 216 front row seats. The Designer Circle, located inside the runway, will offer a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Also located in the luxury tent complex, the Samsung Fashion Lounge will house a 324-square-foot bar serving Belvedere Vodka and Moet & Chandon Champagne, a raised DJ booth surrounded by interactive product displays featuring Samsung's stylish phones and accessories, lounge seating and Samsung plasma screens showing Fashion at the Park runway footage.

With its prestigious reputation for award winning design and high fashion glamour, Cadillac will feature its latest in design and technology at its car display next door to the Samsung Fashion Lounge. Featuring the seductive Cadillac XLR Roadster and the audacious Cadillac Escalade, fashion aficionados will enjoy their time in between shows in the luxurious tented Cadillac Court.

Fashion at the Park tickets are on sale to the public. All seats are reserved and tickets are available by logging onto http://www.northparkcenter.com/ or calling 1-877-77CLICK (fees apply). Ticket prices start at $25.

A limited number of Uber Fashion Passes priced at $1,500 will give style seekers the ultimate VIP access to Fashion at the Park. Package includes: front row seats to all runway shows, a copy of In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine (Rizzoli New York, 2006), a VIP swag bag, $250 NorthPark Gold, complimentary valet parking during event, access to the Seamless screening, invitation to media/VIP kickoff, and first option to purchase exclusive tickets to opening and closing events.

Monday, January 29, 2007

New England Fine Living is updating their web site

New England Fine Living.com, the sister site to Linda's Luxury Living, is updating its look and content. We are now looking for information on any design showhouses, interior design show cases, or decor homes shows in the United States. If you have any information, please e-mail Linda at Linda@newenglandfineliving.com

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The History orf Waterford Crystal

The History of Waterford® Crystal - From the Waterford.com

The beginnings of glass making in Ireland are lost in the mists of time but there is sufficient archaeological evidence to show that, from the early Iron Age, glass was regarded with respect. Indeed, medieval documents can prove glass making existed in Ireland back in the middle 13th century.

However, the Waterford Crystal story started to blossom in 1783 when two brothers, George and William Penrose, founded their crystal manufacturing business in the busy port of Waterford. They were important developers and the city's principal exporters. The development, they told the Irish Parliament, cost £10,000 - a great deal of money in the 18th century.

They employed 50 to 70 people, led by a fellow Quaker, John Hill, from Stourbridge in England, and succeeded in producing crystal with a purity of colour unmatched in Ireland or England. Merchant ships sailed regularly from the port of Waterford with cargoes of crystal bound for Spain, the West Indies, New York, New England and Newfoundland.

But less than 100 years later the initial company failed due to lack of capital and excessive taxation. In what seems a remarkably short time, Waterford Crystal acquired an unequalled reputation that has transcended the intervening centuries.

Another century passed before the enterprise was revived. In 1947, while Europe was still in ruins after the second World War, a small glass factory was set up in Waterford just 11/2 miles from the site of the original glass factory.

Waterford Crystal today has very strong links with its illustrious predecessor. There is today the same dedication to the purity of color, to the same design inspiration and to the same pursuit of highest quality levels possible. The traditional cutting patterns made famous by the artisans of Waterford became the design basis for the growing product range of the new company.

Products which have extended the power of the Waterford brand beyond its core crystal products include Waterford China, Waterford Table & Bed Linens, Waterford Stainless Flatware and Silver Gifts, Waterford Writing Instruments, Waterford Holiday Heirlooms and Waterford Crystal Jewellery.

Waterford Crystal, today, is the leading brand of premium crystal. Its products - superb handcrafted crystal stemware, giftware and lightingware - are designed and manufactured to the highest standards.

The brand's reputation among its target market - upscale men and women - in its major markets is such that it has taken the brand to the heights that it now occupies. The target consumers simply regard Waterford Crystal as the best for self and gift purchase.

Recent research has confirmed the standing of Waterford Crystal in both the US and the UK.

In November 2000, Waterford Crystal was named as the top world class brand in the United States by a survey conducted among 30,000 people by the Princeton, New Jersey, based independent market research company, Total Research Corporation. Total Research said that Waterford Crystal was judged by American consumers as the brand with the highest quality out of 19 world class brands in the US market. Other brands in the league table below Waterford include Rolls-Royce Bentley, Bose stereo and speaker systems, Philadelphia cream cheese, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Kodak, Heinz ketchup and National Geographic magazine.

This year, Waterford celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Lismore pattern of crystal. Almost every year since its inception, Lismore has topped the popularity list and has been the biggest selling pattern of crystal in the US and the world. But there are others among the repertoire of Ireland's most famous export that have gained their own following - Alana, Carina, Araglin.

Waterford Crystal has become almost a synonym for the finest quality crystal sought after by collectors and connoisseurs around the world. Each piece of Waterford can be recognised by the signature on the base with the word "Waterford", the name of the finest crystal in the world.


Toast special occasions with Robert Mondavi by Waterford crystal stemware.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Luxury Skin Care

Here is a You Tube show that I found for you to view in regards to some luxury skin care products.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Building your own Web site

I have been asked several times who I use to create my web sites, and for almost 8 years, I have used Homestead. I have compared them with some of my friends providers, and I found that the cost of my sites are a lot less money per month than theirs. The templates are user friendly and the customers service, if needed, has been 100% helpful. My other Web sites are for my interior design studio www.calderandcompany.com and the other is for New England Fine Living www.newenglandfineliving.com Since I am not a Web site designer, they are a little generic, but if you are savvy with Web pages or html (which you don't have to know), I am sure you could create some incredible Web pages.

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