Aviary takes flight

Are these not the most gorgeous, most sensuous, most amazing cocktails on the face of the earth?

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The Big Welcome

red-carpet-by-fabs_photosI may just have found the perfect contest for someone who loves to travel as much as I do.

It’s Hyatt’s The Big Welcome.  And when they say big, they mean BIG.  The winner will get 365 free room nights at any Hyatt worldwide, plus a million frequent flyer miles to help get them wherever they want to go.  And they’ll even include enough cash to help you pay the income taxes on your winnings.  Three people will be selected as winners: one each from North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Here’s what you do.  In 250 words or less, answer the question, “How would you spend 365 free nights at Hyatt to create an unforgettable experience?”  Hyatt is giving you permission to create the trip of your dreams.  So, take a walk in the park, talk to your muse, and write up your answer.  I did.

Photo credit: flickr/fab’s_photos

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Dream job available

blog-reefBeing a luxury lifestyle writer is about as good as it gets. I travel the world, writing about fabulous food, fabulous wine, fabulous destinations.  Really, how much better could it possibly get?

$150,000 better.

And so I would happily take a sabbatical to explore more of what the world has to offer. Yes, I will be applying for what must surely be The World’s Best Job.<cross fingers>  Before you go getting all worked up about how some people have all the luck, know this: It could be you, instead of me, that gets this gig.  Keep reading.

Position: Island Caretaker Great Barrier Reef

Contract: Six months

Working Conditions: Based on luxurious Hamilton Island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  A live-in position with flexible working hours. Key responsibilities include exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef to discover what the area has to offer.

Reporting Requirements: You’ll be required to report back on your adventures to Tourism Queensland headquarters in Brisbane (and the rest of the world) via weekly blogs, photo diary, video updates and ongoing media interviews.

Job Perks: You’ll receive return airfares from your nearest capital city (in your home country), accommodation and transport on Hamilton Island, travel insurance for the contract period, computer, internet, digital video and stills cameras access, plus travel to a number of the other Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Start Date: July 1, 2009

Education/Experience Requirements: A broad range of experience will be considered, but the successful applicant should posses:

  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Good written and verbal English skills
  • An adventurous attitude
  • Willingness to try new things
  • A passion for the outdoors
  • Good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkeling and/or diving
  • Ability to engage with others
  • At least one year’s relevant experience

For more information, and to apply, click here.  Tell them Denise Reynolds, Luxury Lifestyle Writer, sent you.

And no more whining about how confining your cubicle can be.

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Fabulous @ The Regent

Last night, while waiting for the valet to return my car at The Regent Bal Harbour, I was chatting with a hotel staff member.  A minute or two into our conversation, he asked if he could get me something to drink.  When I requested water, he returned with a chilled bottle of Voss, one of my favorite still waters.  It was such a lovely gesture, and made me feel that their guests are truly cared for every moment of every day.  Congratulations to GM Guenter Richter for assembling a staff that never misses an opportunity to make guests feel genuinely at home.  I look forward to experiencing an overnight stay at this newly-opened property.  And I was thrilled to hear that Chef Mark Militello will be in the kitchen at the hotel’s 1 Bleu, starting this weekend.

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B-Jeweled

Thirty-nine and holding takes on a whole new meaning with last week’s debut of Victoria Secret’s 2008 Fantasy Bra. Encrusted with 39 hundred gems, including 3,575 black diamonds, 117 full-carat round cut diamonds, and 34 rubies, the brassiere de resistance weighs in at 1,500 carats.

Two pear-shaped black diamonds with a combined size of 100 carats form the focal point of this spectacular creation by celebrity jeweler Martin Katz. Watch as Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima unveils this studded sparkler for the Victoria’s Secret Christmas catalogue.

Priced at a cool $5 million, this over-the-top gift is sure to make someone’s holiday season the merriest ever.

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Hot dinner date

It’s a food lover’s dream: Indulge in all your favorites and never gain an ounce. That’s just one of the reasons why foodies are going to flip over the fabulously slim T700 Sony camera announced this week.

Only 5/8 of an inch wide, it’ll store up to 40,000 images in its 4 GB internal memory. At ten shots per meal, that’s enough to cover you for ten years of dinners.

I don’t mind toting a full-sized camera and lenses around while I’m traveling, but pulling it out of a bag to shoot pictures of the food isn’t exactly discreet. So I’ve been looking for a little sliver of a camera, one that will be equally at home riding to a trattoria in the pocket of my black jeans, or slipped into an evening bag for an apres-opera soiree. I’m pinning my hopes on the svelte T700.

Doing double duty as a photo album, the T700 sports a 3.5-inch touch screen for dazzling display, and allows you to search and organize shots by event or date. And once you’ve uploaded the high-res shots to your computer, it will offer to keep low-res versions in memory, so you can use the camera’s display to share images in slideshow or scrapbook format, complete with music if you wish. You can even import photos taken by fellow revelers, incorporating them into your mix. For those who want to upload photos or videos to social networking sites, the T700 includes pre-programmed sites like YouTube, and a USB cable for ease of transfer.

I’ve tried to coax the ship date out of my Sony Style store in Boca, but they aren’t talking. Until then, I’m eagerly anticipating my first dinner date with this hot little number. But like securing a coveted reservation for a top table, we’re going to have to wait another month or so to get a taste of what promises to be the best little dinner camera yet.

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MacGorgeous

I have a pair of Mary Jane-styled Manolo Blahnik pumps in bubblegum pink patent leather.  Unabashedly sexy, and supremely suited to their purpose.  Just pulling them out of the closet puts a smile on my face.  Wearing them makes me happy all day long and sparks conversations everywhere I go.

My new MacBook Air is a lot like those precocious shoes. Guaranteed to garner glances of admiration, it makes working a pleasure.  Of course it’s not my primary system, or even my primary notebook.  I don’t expect it to do everything they do, not any more than I’d expect those fabulous pink patent pumps to stand in for my basic black heels. They’re not even the only pair of pink shoes I own.  The MacBook Air and the bubblegum Blahniks were both designed for a particular purpose, and each one fulfills its unique role in a way nothing that attempts to be something-for-everyone ever could.

Neither one was purchased on a whim. Like the shoes, the MacBook Air is the perfect accessory for something else. Something that was the driving force behind the accessory buy. Oddly enough, I didn’t really want a Mac at all.  I wanted Scrivener, a piece of software for writers that only runs on Mac.  Scanning the Mac display at my local Apple store, it was abundantly clear that only the Air would meet my need for fluid creativity and uber-portability.

Everyone I asked tried to talk me out of the MacBook Air and into the more practical MacBook Pro.  What they just don’t understand and probably never will, is that sometimes I just want to dance through my day in a pair of pretty pink patent leather shoes.

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Car candy

Mi.To from Alfa RomeoIs small the new big?

Meet Mi.To from Alfa Romeo, the little car that could change your mind. Sounds like “Me, too!” but it’s actually named after two Italian cities: Milan, the city that created the car’s style, and Torino, which is responsible for its production.

Leave it to the Italians to take a car this tiny and make it sexy.

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iPod extra

With a base price of $138,375, you’d think the Mercedes CL63 AMG would include a dock for your iPod. Nope. If you want the iPod integration kit, add another $425.

C’mon. Include every conceivable luxury. Not every one except our iTunes. Be completely fabulous!

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Short on shoes

While Carrie and company made their big screen debut last night, I was out in search of the perfect shoe to complete my Sunday afternoon outfit. I know, I know. But even Carrie would agree: Shoes first.

Shopping under pressure is never fun. Shoe shopping, in particular, is best when savored. But when time is tight, having the right people in place is half the battle. Suzy at Neiman’s understands this. Clients have her cell on speed dial so she can help even on her day off, which has saved me more than once. Then there’s Maggie, who has been in shoes at Nordstrom for 20 years. She can work miracles.

Yesterday, I found a sassy Weitzman patent pump that was the perfect shade for my Sunday suit, but too tight in the instep. With a single glance, Maggie accurately diagnosed the condition, taking the offending shoe behind the magic curtain. Moments later she reappeared, having rolled the unruly edge smoothly into place, salvaging an otherwise doomed match. And, while I was there, the soles of the retro Candies I was wearing decided to come loose. It’s almost as if they knew she would be there to save them. Maggie whisked them away to the back room, secured them with some rubber cement, and returned them with a smile. Bag in hand, I left her happier than I had arrived.

Shoes procured, I made it to the movie the following day, accompanied by five gal pals. Laughs aplenty, and good scenery, but in the end we all wished there had been more shoes.

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