Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dream Destination: The Turquoise Beach Bar at The Landings St. Lucia

Day dreaming is a huge part of travel. How else would you know where to go next? I'm always thinking about where my next adventure might be and all the delicious food and drinks I'll consume when I finally arrive. My latest fantasy? The recently opened Turquoise Beach Bar at The Landings St. Lucia.

This view makes me long for warmer weather. How about you?

Just to give you some background, The Landings is a beachfront AAA Four Diamond property that comes complete with a 7,000 square-foot spa, 85 suites and its own private yacht marina. But let's get to what's really important: The Turquoise Beach Bar. Every traveler knows that the only thing better than a beach view is a great cocktail. And this bar combines both into one great package.

Colorful, mixed cocktails are the perfect companion to a killer beach view.

Guests can order wine, beer or liquor. But since this is an alfresco, ocean-side bar, nothing goes better with a great view than a fantastic mixed drink. One true highlight here is the "Sweet Euphoria.” Each glass of this special drink is a unique blend of vodka, mixes and garnishes. Every bartender here has his or her own recipe. The staff doesn't share their creations, so you're guaranteed to get a delicious, surprising beverage. 

Although I've never been there, perhaps a trip to St. Lucia is in my future. And with any luck, I'll be sitting at The Turquoise Beach Bar at The Landings St. Lucia with a sweet cocktail in one hand. I don't know about you, but I'll drink to that. Cheers!

All photos by Mikkel Paige

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wineries That Wow: Virginia's Early Mountain Vineyards

My home state's expanding role as a wine producer (Virginia is one of the top five states in the country for wine right now) means more and more wineries are starting to pop up everywhere. I've been to plenty on press trips, and one of my favorite was Early Mountain Vineyards. Located in Madison, Virginia--about 40 minutes from Charlottesville--this winery's stunning scenery and tasty wine makes it worth the trip.

Gorgeous wine, isn't it? 

Even if you don't like wine, chances are you'll fall in love with the place as soon as you set foot on the property. Check out those gorgeous hills below for proof. With this wicked winter, it's hard to believe it will ever be that warm again. But when spring finally does come around, be sure to visit Early Mountain to see what it's all about. The large tasting room is the kind of place you could spend all day. Down some white wine--my personal favorite here--and enjoy small bites like pretzels, cheese and delicious creamed honey. Drink up! 

Looks mouthwatering, huh?

The stunning entrance. Just look at that sky.

All photos by Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lole: Beyond Flattering Activewear

The activewear world is dominated by three brands: lucy, lululemon and Athleta. I'm a fan of all of them, but I'm always searching for another great line that can hang in my closet. And that's where brands like Lole come in handy. This Montreal-based company opened a New York City store in June of last year, and let's all hope it's here to stay. Lole creates gorgeous, functional and flattering pieces. I fell in love with all four pieces the company sent me to review, but I want to discuss two of them.

The Central Tank Top has a wonderful built-in bra. Like, it actually works if you have a chest. No small feat there. Plenty of tanks designed to be worn sans bra just don't cut it. But not this one. Wear this during spinning or other high-impact activities. And the cranberry red color is perfect for these chilly holiday months. The seams are flattering too. I'd leave this hanging in the closet for long runs though, but I'd pull it out for every other activity. 

Next up for my favorite pick includes The Lively Pant. These were, hands-down, the best  activewear pants I've worn in a long time. They provide just the right amount of compression without being too restrictive. The seams are ultra-flattering--yes, this company's clothes have the best seams. The material is thick, compressive and moisture wicking. The high waist is perfect, especially after the calorie-laden eating fest that is the holidays. If you've got the money (these are not cheap at $105 a pop) or can wait for the pants to go on sale, I'd purchase these for sure. This blog is all about celebrating things I love. Here's to great activewear!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why You Should Give Richmond's Blue Bee Cider A Try

Delicious cider!

Craft beverages are on the rise. And even though craft beer gets a ton of press, craft cider is probably my favorite drink. There's a Cidercraft Magazine. From 2007 to 2013, craft cider sales reached $600 million, according to Virginia has a Cider Week. But putting all those (impressive) numbers aside, cider is delicious. 

Forget all the cider you had as a kid. Today's offerings are sweet, but not cloying and have just a slight edge from the alcohol. Sure, I wouldn't drink it every day. But cider's a fun treat that's worth your time. And my favorite cider maker? Richmond's Blue Bee Cider.

 Blue Bee offers small and large sizes--perfect for a dinner party or just a quiet night in.

The tasting room is tucked away behind these warehouses in Virginia's capital city, and this is a true gem. Sit outside when the weather's nice or enjoy the warm atmosphere of the tasting room. The walls are a light blue complete with light-colored wood and soft lighting. I'd suggest picking up a bottle or purchasing a tasting next time you're in Richmond. My personal favorite? Aragon 1904. This is a Prosecco-like beverage that's light, fizzy, sweet and just a tiny bit sour. I also love how the company sells smaller bottle of its offerings. Here's to hoping cider is here to stay. Cheers!

Check out that gorgeous tasting room. All photos by Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.