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Maui’s Unique Spa Adventures

Award-winning spas offer ancient rituals with indigenous products. Surrounded by breath-taking mountains, soothing ocean breezes and a relaxing calm that permeates the island culture, a visit to Maui is not complete without indulging in at least one rejuvenating spa treatment. The word maui actually means “life, alive, to live” in the Hawaiian language. To the early peoples of Hawaii, the earth, the sea, and the mountains were all intertwined with a person’s health and well-being. Embracing that same philosophy today, Maui’s spas offer many indigenous treatments that have been passed down from generation to generation. The Spa at Travaasa...

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Maui Magic at Lumeria

To interior designer and architectural conservator, Xorin Balbes, there was something magical about the derelict property on the foothills of Maui’s Mt Haleakala. The land was special – he had felt its energy, but he’d also seen the dry rot that now invaded the buckled timber buildings that, a decade earlier, had housed pineapple pickers. So Xorin knew the onerous task he faced, but believed it was important to restore the unique 1909 authentic Craftsman style property with its “neo-classical and vernacular Japanese details”. So today, when you first round the corner of the driveway and take in the...

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Penthouse Perch: Uncommon Luxury at Inn and Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe, NM

Named for the historic Loretto Chapel that shares the grounds with this luxe hotel property, Inn and Spa at Loretto offers Santa Fe’s only penthouse. The lavish rooftop penthouse in the heart of Santa Fe delivers spectacular panoramic views of the historic New Mexican city from five separate terraces. Your own private elevator whisks you like a rock star away from the groupies into the spacious two-story suite. You arrive at lush living and dining areas that are decorated in understated southwestern elegance and designed to enhance the natural and cultural setting of the distinctive space. The fully appointed...

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Premchit Aromatic Prawns With Mango and Avocado Salad

This recipe is from Premchit in Phuket, Thailand – a destination spa devoted to wellness through diet, detoxification and other focused therapies. Premchit Prateap Na Thalang says: “Connections, between people, animals, plants, the earth, the sun; are life, past, present, future.” Premchit blends her inherited ancestral wisdom and family secrets with her own formal education in aromatherapy from the International Federation of Aromatherapists in London, with her intuitive cuisine and perfumery skills, to create highly enjoyable and effective therapeutic Ambrosias, Elixirs, Scents and Treatments for her EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Natural Wellness Retreats. Premchit Aromatic Prawns With Mango and Avocado...

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Philanshopit: Where Fashion Meets Philanthropy

Aubrey Cox and Hanna Koch hope to revolutionize the way people shop through their online storefront, Philanshopit.  Launched this November, Philanshopit offers a beautifully curated collection of apparel, home decor, accessories and jewelry. What separates Philanshopit from traditional shopping websites is a commitment to selling products from partners who “have a clear social impact statement in their mission.” Born from an idea that came to Aubrey while still in college, Philanshopit’s mission is to “provide socially responsible items without asking consumers to sacrifice style.” As companies with powerful movements such as TOMS continue to thrive, the goal of Philanshopit...

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Tatanka or Szarlotka from The Piano Rogue in Krakow

After a day of touring around Krakow, Poland, with history, delicious food, and tired bodies, a few of us just wanted to relax before returning to our hotel. Our guide had been nice enough to search the square to find the perfect spot, The Piano Rouge. What a treat to walk into this supper club where time had stopped and hear a father and daughter team singing “Unforgettable.” In its relaxing environment, I enjoyed a well-known traditional Polish cocktail, both refreshing and tasty, called Tatanka or Szarlotka. It translates to apple pie. Tatanka or Szarlotka Cocktail (Apple Pie) Ingredients: 1...

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Fire-Roasted Pumpkin Filled with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Mascarpone

Early in 2011, I had the opportunity to meet Chef Andrew Schloss. He was the celebrity chef at Rancho La Puerta and I was a guest presenter. While attending his class, we all participated. Since pumpkin was not available, acorn squash from the ranch garden was substituted quite well. Andy has authored 15 published cookbooks and appeared on many national television shows. This recipe is the one Andy and his wife serve at their own Thanksgiving Dinner for those who are vegetarians. It is also a great side dish. Fire-Roasted Pumpkin Filled with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Mascarpone Recipe...

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Fresh Mozzarella with Lobster Boursin and Habanero Jam on Toasted Brioche

I just love this appetizer.  It has so many of my favorite flavors coming together to create magic. You have sweet lobster, creamy mozzarella, garlicky Boursin and a spicy kick  of the habanero jam all nestled atop a buttery toasted brioche.  I like to eat this while sipping a nice Zinfandel.  Bite, sip, bite, sip…  Soon all worries are gone and I’m in a happy place.  Make these and join me in that happy place. Fresh Mozzarella with Lobster Boursin and Habanero Jam on Toasted Brioche Makes 30 Pieces The Brioche Cut brioche into half inch thick pieces and...

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Wines from Moravia and Bohemia

No Longer the Czech Republic’s Secret by Maralyn D. Hill and Norman E. Hill These are wines that will be soaring to the top for those who want some of the best. When we visited the Czech Republic in 1999, we really didn’t know about its illustrious history of winemaking. In 2012, when Maralyn returned on her own, she started to realize some of the wine-related history. In the fall of 2013, we were invited to a preview at the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale for the Vino z Czech, to sample a selection of wines from South Moravia, the...

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The Hotel Nikopolis and Da Vinci: Luxury on the Spice Route

The clear blue water in the immense Hotel Nikopolis pool mirrors the crystal sea of Thessaloniki’s vast harbor. The modern edifice encloses this space on three sides reflecting a reality that the sea is paramount to everything Greek. Frequently luxury hotels are not within two miles of a major airport, but the average North American does not usually find oneself a guest in the exquisite second city of Greece, Thessaloniki. The strikingly modern Hotel Nikopolis, built in 1999, is reminiscent in its clean lines of the marble and limestone structures of Greek antiquity, encasing ninety-nine rooms with exceedingly comfortable...

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Dripping in Luxury – Sarasota Resorts Offer a Taste of the Good Life

Photography by Dale Sanders Is this a dream?  I would pinch myself to find out but at the moment my hands are a little busy floating in the shallow end of one of the most magnificent bodies of water I’ve ever dipped in.  No, it’s not the beach, or even one of those fancy showers with ten thousand jets.  This, friends, is the mac daddy of architectural feats in terms of pools.  A subtle, soft, sand-like entrance that envelops my soul and tempts me to linger in the shallow end way longer than I thought I’d be there.  And,...

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