Local Alcohol Worth Traveling For!

(Hotels with their own line of alcohol or an “in” to experience local alcohol) 

We’re presenting thrilling ideas that speak to the art of living well and having an “in” to immerse yourself in local culture.

No matter what your cup of tea or shot of liquor is, trying local alcohol will spice up your travel and give you a taste of the destination’s flavors. For every type of alcohol, there are always places rumored to be the best to try it and the experiences are definitely worth traveling for. Whether it’s an alochol specific to a certain region, winery, distillery, or even bar, these hotels offer an “in” for you to experience local alcohol, and some have their very own exclusive line of alcohol.

Choose your insider booze experience:

Sandpearl Resort Deep Blue Tangerine Wheat

Sandpearl Resort Deep Blue Tangerine Wheat

Booze: Craft Beer

Where to have it: Opal Sands Resort, Sandpearl Resort, Lido Beach Resort – Opal Collection hotels in Clearwater Beach and Sarasota, Florida

With trendy craft breweries popping up all over Florida, a few of the Opal Collection hotels offer guests a taste of local beer through a partnership with Sea Dog Brewing Company based in Clearwater, Florida. This local brewery created an exclusive line of craft beers for the Opal Collection hotels, with two brews, the “Deep Blue IPA” and “Deep Blue Tangerine Wheat”, available on tap at Opal Sands Resort, Sandpearl Resort, and Lido Beach Resort. The Deep Blue IPA is a medium-bodied crisp, triple-hopped IPA with citrus and floral spices and the Deep Blue Tangerine Wheat is a light, fruity, and earthy ale. For a chance to check out the local brewery scene along the St. Pete / Clearwater Craft Beer Trail, Sandpearl Resort offers a Craft Beer Trail Chauffeur Service, where up to 14 beer lovers get their own VIP ride for the day or night and a map of the all the best hotspots.

Aruba Marriott - Aruba Ariba

Aruba Marriott – Aruba Ariba

Booze: Coecoei (Aruban liquor)

Where to have it:Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino – Aruba

Sure to ease you into vacation mode, when you first arrive at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino’s tropical oasis, you’ll be greeted with the One Happy Island’s signature cocktail, an Aruba Ariba. While to first-time visitors, it may just look like a tropical rum punch due to its vibrant red-pink color, but it’s so much more than that. The Aruba Arriba features 3 juices including pineapple juice, orange juice, and cranberry juice as well as 5 liquors including rum, vodka, banana liquor, Grand Marnier, and Coecoei – a centuries-old Aruban liquor first made by Indian tribes and derived from the sap of the kukwisa agave plant and then mixed with rum and cane sugar.

The House Rum

The House Rum

Booze: Rum

Where to have it: The House – Barbados

The island of Barbados may only measure 166 square miles, but this eastern Caribbean locale (aka the birthplace of rum) has no shortage of lively spots to ‘lime.’ The most iconic: the Mount Gay Rum Factory where travelers can sign up for distillery tours and tastings, complete with a few sips of the limited edition 1703 Master Select blend. For rum lovers looking to imbibe on the beach (because when in Barbados, right?), head toThe House, the chic, adults-only boutique hotel on the island’s platinum west coast. Not only can the property arrange private Mount Gay tastings, but the friendly staff will help keep the party going at the on-site 1703 Mount Gay Rum Bar. When the iconic sunset calls for a drink to complete the ultimate Insta story, look no further than the Bajan Rum punch, best enjoyed from the comfort of the bar’s plush, oversized lounge chairs.

CasaMagna Puerto Vallarta Tequila

CasaMagna Puerto Vallarta Tequila

Booze: Tequila

Where to have it: CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta – Mexico

At the epicenter of tequila culture you’ll find CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta — one of the few resorts in the world that grows its own agave azul onsite and produces a proprietary brand of tequila. The resort offers 114 tequilas by the glass, an in-house Tequila Sommelier, and weekly tasting classes for guests as part of the “CasaMagna Secretos de la Familia” program to help increase their knowledge of and appreciation for the most famous product of the resort’s home State of Jalisco: Tequila. Try their signature tequila mixed in the Margarita Magna – tequila cuervo gold, controy (Mexican orange liqueur), freshly squeezed lemon juice, mango & coconut cream. Oh boy!

JW Marriott Cusco Camote Pisco Sour with Sweet Potato

JW Marriott Cusco Camote Pisco Sour with Sweet Potato

Booze: Pisco

Where to have it:JW Marriott El Convento Cusco  -  Peru

Cusco is one of the world’s top destinations for gastronomy. Beyond native dishes, their national spirit, Pisco, is a big part of the culture, and a must-have when visiting Peru. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco invites you to join Executive Chef Thais Rodriguez behind the bar for a hands-on tutorial on how to make the perfect Pisco Sour – the national drink. During the lesson, guests learn the origins of Pisco, the different ways to enjoy it, and the secrets to mastering Peru’s classic cocktail, while personalizing their Pisco Sours with macerated varieties of pisco like passionfruit, ají picante — a hot chili pepper — or the hotel’s signature drink, the Camote Sour. Made with juiced sweet potatoes, the cocktail is loaded with nutrient-rich health benefits and served exclusively at the JW Marriott Cusco. Not only will you leave with lasting memories, but also with a pretty useful party skill that’s sure to impress. 

Il Salviatino Laterrazza

Il Salviatino Laterrazza

Booze: Wine

Where to have it:Il Salviatino – Tuscany, Italy

Among the rolling Tuscan hills you will find Il Salviatino, a hand-restored, 15th century villa just 15 minutes outside of the pulsing city of Florence. As one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, Il Salviatino makes it a priority to connect guests with the area’s most cherished wine makers by arranging tours and tastings at private, family-owned wineries… so it’s less about the crowds, and all about the vino. A favorite among the hotel’s Service Ambassadors isColle Bereto, a hidden gem in the Chianti country offering beyond-belief views and private tastings within its 11th century, 148-acre property, which is owned by the Panzauti family. Here, guests encounter a variety of Sangiovese grapes, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. After touring the vineyard and cellars, they are treated to a wine pairing lunch – al fresco – with the simplest, but most delicious Italian specialties – cheeses, meats and homemade pastas — on the menu.

Blue Curacao  and Coconuts

Blue Curacao and Coconuts

Booze: Blue Curaçao

Where to have it: Willemstad, Curaçao

Curaçao, the “C” of the ABC islands in the Caribbean, is known for its blues music, its 35+ ocean-blue beaches, and most importantly, its Blue Curaçao liqueur. This famous drink is distilled and bottled at Landuis Chobolobo, an estate built in the early 19th century, located in the heart of the island, Willemstad. The refreshing bright blue liqueur is crafted from dried Laraha orange peels exclusively grown in Curaçao. Want to try the different flavors of The Genuine Curaçao Liqueur? Take a guided tour of the Chobolobo factory and witness how the famous “Blue Curaçao” has been distilled using traditional methods for more than 100 years while enjoying the different flavors including tamarind and chocolate.

3 Ways to Upgrade Fall Entertaining

The transition from summer to fall – from lounging poolside to cozying up fireside – offers opportunities for a different take on entertaining your guests in unexpected ways. Whether it’s a simple dinner with a few friends or a big bash for a crowd, there are simple touches of glamour and charm that can take your hosting skills to a new level.

To help guide your vision for entertaining this autumn, top sommelier Chantelle Pabros and Spring Street Social Society’s hosting guru Amy Virginia Buchanan shared their favorite tips.

Soak in the Season

The bold colors of changing leaves and vivid sunsets mean fall is arriving. Let this backdrop serve as the perfect setting for a toast the next time you host friends. Before guests arrive, set up soft and colorful cotton-weave throw blankets so everyone can keep warm as they enjoy Mother Nature from the comfort of the backyard.

Pabros and Buchanan suggest incorporating shades of the season, including deep maroons, oranges and peaches, into a spread of finger foods. Visit your favorite local bakeshop and pick up items for a sweet station such as macarons and scones with filling like berries, butter, clotted cream and artisanal jams. As the sun sets, match the rose-colored sunset with the deep hue of Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosé.

Pairing Perfection

A dinner party is the ultimate opportunity to show off your hosting skills as well as your taste, with wine pairings to complement each course. Take your guests on a culinary journey featuring unexpected dishes that celebrate the season.

Buchanan suggests impressing your table with a delightfully classic main course such as Pollock en Papillote paired with Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus, which is made exclusively with grapes sourced from Grand Cru vineyards.

Lights, Cameras, Cheers

Pabros and Buchanan agree that a movie night is the perfect way to share laughs and memories without much effort or time. After a delicious meal, invite your friends to watch a classic movie. For this part of the evening, popcorn is an obvious snack of choice. Instead of one big bowl, try taping together newspaper cones or using take-out boxes to create individual servings. You can also put together a salt bar for toppings such as matcha salt, truffle salt and grated cheeses. To sweeten things up, Pabros suggests picking up a jar of salted caramel and drizzling over the popcorn.

“Try pairing it with Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française,” Pabros said. “The peachy, nutty, butterscotch notes of the Champagne pair well with the caramel-coated popcorn.”

Find more entertaining inspiration at Facebook.com/taittingerUSA.

Pollock en Papillote

Servings: 6

  • Parchment paper
  • Pollock
  • butter
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1          lemon, juiced
  • 1          lemon, sliced
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • 4-8       cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1          handful shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • dash of white wine
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Fold piece of parchment paper in half and cut out heart shape about the size of the fish with four-inch border around edges. Sit fish center of half heart, closest to crease.
  3. Butter center of fish.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper over fish.
  5. Sprinkle lemon juice over fish. Place lemon slices on top center of fish.
  6. Place springs of rosemary, thyme and sage along edges of fish.
  7. Place tomatoes and mushrooms on top of and alongside fish.
  8. Drizzle olive oil over fish.
  9. Starting at top of half heart, seal parchment by folding edges over themselves. When there are about 2 inches left before parchment pouch is sealed, pour wine in opening. Once filled, fold and twist pointed end to close pouch.
  10. Bake pouch on baking sheet12 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Pair with Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Kobrand Importers

Inspirational Tips for Autumn Outdoor Entertaining

The days are shorter, the temperatures are cooler and kids are back in school. You’ve said goodbye to summer socials, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put away your apron and stow the patio furniture. Autumn is one of the best times of the year for outdoor entertaining, and with a few smart tips you’ll fall in love with hosting fall gatherings.

Extend the fun feeling of summer entertaining into the autumn months by taking a few simple steps to create a memorable experience.

Switch up dishes: The cool dishes of summer should be swapped with savory recipes that feature hearty ingredients. A roast or slow-cooker meal is the perfect option. Visit the farmers market and feature local fresh harvest foods. In addition to standard drinks like water and soda, offer a signature warm beverage, such as spicy hot apple cider.

Enjoy the night: Autumn evenings are spectacular, with cool temperatures and star-studded skies. Serve dinner al fresco and then ask guests to stay to gather around the bonfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Add an element of entertainment and guests will enjoy themselves all night.

Make movie magic: To really wow guests, host an outdoor movie experience day or night. The LG ProBeam smart TV laser projector has an HD picture of up to 120 inches with impressive visibility, sharp contrast and rich blacks, even when there is abundant ambient light. Plus, with the award-winning webOS Smart TV platform, you can stream your favorite services just like on a smart TV, creating a seamless viewing (and hosting) experience.

Set up superior sound: Whether you’re setting the mood with some music or enhancing the movie-viewing experience, a high-quality speaker makes entertaining easy. The LG LOUDR FH6 is a 600W Bluetooth speaker system that can fill your room (or backyard) with booming audio. Plus, with the Karaoke Creator feature, you can suppress the vocal frequencies of any song to turn it into a karaoke track, which is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Mind the weather: Fall weather can change drastically throughout a day. Encourage guests to dress in layers so that attire for daylight fun can transition into warmer wear for evening hours. What’s more, keep a couple extra jackets on hand just in case people forget and need a light coat.

Create a cozy atmosphere: Whether you’re watching a movie, star gazing or sitting around the bonfire, help guests stay warm by setting out a variety of throw blankets and outdoor pillows. Nothing encourages guests to cozy up and stay longer than a big blanket, a fun flick and a mug of something warm.

Light the night: Cloudy days or early evening hours don’t have to ruin your good time. Add a soft glow and an element of safety by adding string lights to railings and pathways. For kids attending the party, bracelet and necklace glow lights are always a big hit. For bonfire and movie spaces, add a basket of flashlights guests can use as needed.

Perfect parting gifts: If you decide to offer favors when guests depart, embrace the fall feeling and consider goodies they can savor later while reminiscing about your party. Mini apple or pumpkin pies are cute and creative. Caramel apples are a tasty autumn delight. A container featuring a variety of tea will keep them warm all season long.

Once you try autumn entertaining it might become your favorite time of year to host friends and family. With these tips, everyone is guaranteed to have a splendid time. (BPT)

Join Us for the Austin Originals 6th Annual Benefit Concert on August 19

Austin Child Guidance Center (ACGC) is proud to present the 6th Annual Austin Originals Benefit Concert and Live Stream on Saturday, August 19, 2017 featuring ten time Grammy Award winners, Asleep at the Wheel. We are proud to announce that our emcee for the evening will be Terry Lickona, Executive Producer of Austin City Limits.

Guests will enjoy the Austin Originals Tasting Grove presented by Lexus of Austin & Lexus of Lakeway and an open bar during the reception.  The Austin Originals Tasting Grove features: The Austin Artisan, Chez Zee, Café Blue, Cojo Unlimited Catering, Roaring Fork, Gregorio’s Catering, Winflo Osteria, Gusto’s Italian Kitchen, Kellie’s Baking Co., and The Capital Grille.

We will present the 6th Annual Phyllis Richards Austin Icon for Children Awards to Ryan Therrell in the Community Activist category and Dr. Libby Doggett in the Community Professional category.

Special Thanks to the events Honorary Co-Chairs, Colin Pope and Heather McKissick!

Click HERE to purchase tickets for the Mezzanine and Floor Sponsorships.

Please visit ACL Live Calendar for balcony tickets-which only includes entrance for the music portion of the event. Doors open for balcony tickets at 8:30pm. All proceeds from balcony tickets go directly to ACGC.

For sponsorship opportunities or more information contact ACGC’s Director of Development, Renee Hanson Malone.

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour Coming To Austin October 13 – 15, 2017 Tickets on Sale Friday, August 18 at 10:00 A.M.

Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour

October 13 – 15, 2017

                        Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. 

Bass Concert Hall | 2350 Robert Dedman Drive | Austin, TX 78712

Tickets start at $30.Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.comtexasperformingarts.org, the Bass Concert Hall ticket office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060.  For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email Austin.groups@broadwayacrossamerica.com.

(L to R) Danny Harris Kornfeld, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

(L to R) Danny Harris Kornfeld, Kaleb Wells
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

Ticket buyers are reminded that the Bass Concert Hall ticket office and all Texas Box Office Outlets are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances at Bass Concert Hall. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that Bass Concert Hall is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996. RENT is winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of only six musicals to win both awards.

Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign restages this 20th anniversary tour.  Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, RENT) serves as choreographer.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include CinderellaMAMMA MIA!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Vocalosity, and Crazy For You.

TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS is situated on the main campus of one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the country.  Texas Performing Arts serves The University of Texas at Austin campus and the Austin community at large through a diverse season of world-class fine arts performances, educational activities, and collaborative partnerships.  Texas Performing Arts presents an international season of music, theatre, dance, and conversation in our multiple venues, as well as the best in touring Broadway productions and concert attractions. As a university-based arts center it is also committed to serving the academic mission of the College of Fine Arts by supporting the work of our students, faculty and staff on our stages, classrooms, studios and production shops; and in the educational outreach programs it provides for the Austin community.

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, under the supervision of 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO). Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Dear Evan Hansen, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Hairspray, Million Dollar Quartet, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The ProducersBroadwayAcrossAmerica.comBroadway.com

Presented by Texas Performing Arts. Broadway Across America provides production services for Texas Performing Arts. Sales tax exempt pursuant to Texas Tax Code Section 151.3101(a)(3).

Breakout Actress Andrea Hunt Stars in Two Films – WTF! and Awaken the Shadowman

Andrea Hunt

Andrea Hunt

Blond bombshell, Andrea Hunt is currently starring in a horror film, WTF! alongside Sarah Agor (Scream Queens)Callie Ott (The Horror), and Perez Hilton - available on Amazon Instant, iTunes, Xbox, Vimeo, Steam, Vudu and Google Play. In addition, Andrea is also starring in a psychological thriller, Awaken the Shadowman, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. She co-stars in the film alongside Jean Smart (Designing Women) and Robert R. Shafer (The Office).

WTF! follows the survivor of a mass murder on a relaxing trip with six close friends, when her nightmare threatens to begin again. Awaken the Shadowman is a psychological thriller about a pair of estranged brothers that reunite after their mother disappears to discover an unknown supernatural force.

Andrea has also been in numerous television commercials, including Dave & Buster’s national campaign and she’s had a few guest star roles such as FOX comedy, Grandfathered alongside John Stamos.

Follow Andrea Hunt:

More Than Fun: 5 Tips For Planning a Healthy Vacation

Taking a vacation is more than a fun getaway from the daily drudges of life. Turns out, travel has a multitude of benefits that can impact your health and wellness, too.

Beyond stress reduction, vacations can improve heart health, mental health and personal relationships. In fact, men who take annual vacations are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Women benefit too: Those who take vacations twice or more per year are “less likely to become tense, depressed or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages,” according to the Wisconsin Medical Journal.

Wellness travel is growing 50 percent faster than travel as a whole, according to a survey from the Global Wellness Summit. This includes spas, adventure and fitness-themed trips. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on a yoga retreat to get the healthy benefits of travel. Consider these five tips for adding a healthy dose of wellness to your next vacation.

Intentionally disconnect: A whopping 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check email during vacation and 26 percent feel guilty even using all of their vacation time at all, according to Randstad. Make it a point to focus on the present and ignore your phone or limit checking it to once per day. If email or social media is hard to resist, sign out of those apps for the length of your vacation.

Relax by the water: Water is a natural element that inspires relaxation, but also provides lots of opportunity to play. For example, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers visitors an incredible 60 miles of ocean to explore, including the famous Intracoastal Waterway. Go to visitmyrtlebeach.com to learn more about how to relax on the sand by day and fall asleep to the calming waves of the ocean by night.

Try a new activity: Trying something new can have positive mental and physical benefits. Never tried kayaking or paddle boarding before? Give it a whirl. Want to take a yoga class? Sign up for an introductory lesson on the beach. Feeling brave? Go skydiving, zip-lining or parasailing. Whether you end up discovering a new hobby or just have a one-time adventure, you’re sure to fully enjoy the experience.

Get into nature: Many health studies show the benefits of being outside, so make sure to plan plenty of time to explore Mother Nature on your trip. In addition to fresh air, take a hike at a local park and explore new scenery. When in Myrtle Beach, for example, you can take a morning jog through Huntington Beach State Park, meditate at Brookgreen Gardens or plan a family bike ride at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Eat well by eating right: Going out to eat is a fundamental part of vacationing for most people, but that doesn’t mean you need overindulge so much that you feel sluggish throughout your trip. To eat well, plan sensible meals that feature fresh local ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables and the daily catch of fish. You’ll enjoy regional flavors that tantalize the palate without the heavy foods that drag you down. (BPT)

Party Themes for a Summer Bash to Remember

When summer party season arrives, your guests will be happy to eat the grilled food you serve and down gallons of iced tea, but will they recall your party after Labor Day? Every good host wants to throw a bash guests will talk about all summer and remember long after the first snowfall. A themed summer party can be just the ticket to ensure your summer celebration has everyone clamoring to be on the guest list for your next big event.

Here are tips for staging a summer celebration to remember:

Sporting fun

A summer without sports would be like a beach vacation with no water! A sports-themed party is sure to have broad appeal, whether you opt to focus on a single sport or incorporate several favorites. Sports-themed decorations are a good start, but to really make a statement, rent some bleachers from your local party rental store, add in some concession equipment like popcorn and cotton candy makers, and throw in some backyard-sized versions of your favorite sports games. You can rent basketball tosses, pitching games and more at your local rental store.

Go patriotic

Summer has three of the year’s most patriotic holidays. Red, white and blue bunting and other decorations are musts for patriotic celebrations, but don’t stop there. Consider incorporating other all-American features in your event, like a barbecue cook-off with all the rentable fixings you need, and favorite summer lawn games like ring toss and lawn darts.

Dance-off

Great weather and freedom from school can make anyone feel like dancing, so why not host a backyard dance party? Rent a dance floor, add in a jukebox and a karaoke machine, and you’ve got the basis for a summer dance-off featuring summer-themed music. Include a misting fan or two to help keep dancers and spectators cool.

Summer snack celebration

Shaved ice, ice cream, fruit salads, popcorn — seasonal snacks are as much a part of summer as sunshine and hot temperatures. Why not heat up your backyard event by turning it into a celebration of summer snacks? Slice some watermelon, steep some iced tea in the sun, and rent a variety of snack machines to make cotton candy, popcorn, frozen drinks and snow cones.

Summer chilling

Your party should be hot but your guests don’t have to be. Rental stores carry a wide range of items that can help party-goers cool off, from dunk tanks to misting fans, and inflatable water slides to snow machines. Visit your local dollar discount store to stock up on water pistols, squirters, water balloons and buckets (for reloading), and invite guests to have a cool backyard water battle.

Movie madness

Summer is blockbuster movie season, so why not bring a bit of the excitement of the cinema to your own backyard? Rent projectors and screens, some theater seats and velvet rope and stanchions to turn your yard into an open-air theater. Turn on the popcorn machine and pop in a DVD of last summer’s hottest blockbuster for a night of movie madness.

For more party rental ideas or to find summer party items for rent near you, visit www.RentalHQ.com. (BPT)

Throw a Sizzling Summer Cocktail Party

Vintage barware is hot for summer entertaining.

Vintage barware is hot for summer entertaining.

Raise your glasses high — cocktail parties are the toast of this summer’s entertaining. Don’t know where to start? Think barware, which is nearly as hot as the rising temperatures. That’s why we turned to designer Julie Robbins from Replacements, Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of vintage and current dinnerware, for fabulously fun ideas sure to make your soiree one of your favorite summer memories.

Why are cocktail parties so popular for summer 2017?

These gatherings are both fun and easy to put together — you’re not trying to seat everyone at the same table so you can make use of more of your home, whether that’s an apartment, condo or house. Cocktail parties are all about conversation, networking and introducing one group of friends to another, so people are always moving around. This type of entertaining is perfect for both small and large spaces alike; you can use your kitchen, family room or head outside to a patio, deck or even your yard.

What’s the best time for the perfect cocktail party?

Any time! Cocktail parties are usually the warm-up or wind-down for the evening, and timing often depends on your reasons for celebrating. For instance, if you’re holding your party as a kick-off to some event, say an evening out or concert under the stars, you may want to serve drier drinks and savory, spicier foods. If it’s a post-event gathering, consider a late night with sweets, such as liqueurs and dessert-type finger foods.

What about barware? What’s hot this summer?

I think three barware types will be extremely popular this season: the coupe, the old fashioned and a tall drink glass, such as a tumbler or highball.

Why the coupe?

There’s a movement toward more elegant cocktails, and people want to serve those beverages in something equally elegant. That’s why coupes (often referred to as champagne-sherbet glasses) are really stepping into the fore. Coupes offer a more refined shape that looks great in the hand. Vintage coupes from classic American glassmakers such as Tiffin, Fostoria and Heisey are big with our customers, with unique pieces in pretty much every price range. Not only are vintage coupes a great conversation starter, these glasses are highly collectible. You can also use them for desserts.

The old fashioned?

Old fashioned or even double old fashioned glasses are used for serving spirits straight up or on the rocks. They’re also great for mixed cocktails, such as old fashioneds (the glass is named after this whiskey-based drink, which muddies bitters and sugars with a citrus twist), whiskey sours or even Bloody Marys. What’s neat is that you’ll find them in varying shapes. For example, Waterford has great old fashioned patterns, from something very simple and squared like their “Vintage” collection to more elegant, cut patterns such as “Powerscourt,” which is sparkly and almost tulip shaped. You’ll also find very rounded, roly-poly shapes made popular on the television show Mad Men.

How about the highball?

Highballs are perfect for serving taller, refreshing drinks such as Long Island iced teas or a Tom Collins. You may see highball glasses referred to as tumblers in vintage patterns. Most of the Depression glass patterns have unique shapes such as footed tumblers, which can really step up your game.

Bar carts are perfect for keeping cocktail parties organized.

Bar carts are perfect for keeping cocktail parties organized.

Bar carts seem to be everywhere. Is that another trend for summer entertaining?

Bar carts are great! We’re coming out of a phase where people kept their liquor put away; these days they want to show it off. A well-stocked bar cart is the perfect accessory for any size living space. And many companies even seem to want a beautiful, shiny and organized bar cart for the office. Bar carts are a great way to help keep your entertaining organized and not all spread out. And you can set those up for any style or taste. For example, you might want to put your alcohol on one shelf and your barware on another, or you can mix it up. Plus you can move your cart around as needed, so you’re not stuck in the same place with your guests glued to a bar.

How about food?

Pre-portioned foods are fantastic for cocktail parties and a great way to serve something pricier without having to break the bank. One fun idea — think about using barware you may not need at that particular party, such as glass punch cups, to make individual shrimp cocktail servings. This saves you from having a huge bowl of shrimp where that one person (you know the one) will stand and eat all night and keeps your guests moving — they can grab a serving and go. Two- and three-tiered servers are fabulous for cocktail parties. These servers have a very small footprint since they’re stacked, meaning you can tier different hors d’oeuvres on each layer and serve your guests without taking up a huge chunk of your table. Replacements can actually handcraft these pieces in the pattern of your choice.

Any final tips?

Limit your party to one or two signature cocktails. This keeps you from having to stock ten kinds of liquor and you can mix drinks in batches, meaning you can spend more time enjoying your party rather than bartending. (BPT)

Exclusive Interview: Sarah Duque Lovisoni is a Remarkable Talent and a Remarkable Beauty

Photography courtesy of Andi Brooke Photography.

Venezuelan top-model Sarah Duque Lovisoni is an impressive combination of beauty and culture. Celebrated as a successful model, the elegant Venezuelan has also created an interior design company, SDL Design, in the United States which collaborates with numerous Italian luxury brands.

Born in Milan, Sarah naturally began her modeling career there as the face of some of the most prestigious companies in the world such as Pantene, Pirelli, La Perla, Vogue, Roberto Cavalli, and Alberta Ferretti.

Soon thereafter, Sarah came to Los Angeles where she’s represented by AC Talent, one of the most prestigious agencies in the city. Today you can see her alongside Julia Roberts in the international campaign of Lancome Cosmetics, Paris for the ‘La Vie Est Belle’ fragrance.

It’s thrilling to learn more about Sarah.  She is a woman who possesses such a wonderful spirit, which is so contagious.  I’m totally captivated by her and happy to share highlights of our conversations.

Read our riveting interview conducted and written by William Jackson to learn why Sarah is truly a remarkable talent and a remarkable beauty.