Mothers of Style: Looking to the Leading Ladies

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There are many debates over the appropriate dresses for the mothers of the bride and groom.
Tradition states that they should match the bridal party in hue or cut, wear black, navy or cream. While it’s generally agreed upon that the dress should be age-conscious and not overly glitzy, there’s nothing to say about it being boring. The rules are being broken every day—with the bride’s permission.

As the mothers, you are representing the families and are part of the stylish glue that elevates the wedding’s ambiance. In this role, you’ve most likely helped prepare for the wedding; you’ve chatted and collaborated with relatives, supported the efforts. But being one of the mothers of the day also allows you a certain amount of pride; the wedding day is certainly a time to show it off and choose a dress that reflects your personal style.

This is perhaps no more true than for past ladies of state: they know how to dress within reason for the more conservative, public affair while still looking fabulous. From classic dress suits to elaborate gowns, I encourage you to take cue from their past style successes.

Michelle Obama visits the Queen, J Mendel Jacket and Skirt // Tadasha Shoji Lace and Mesh Dress, Saks // Carmen Marc Valvo Pleated Floral-Print Ball Skirt, Neiman Marcus

Patterns: Hillary Clinton in Oscar de la Renta at Chelsea’s wedding // Lela Rose Half-Sleeve Floral Print Dress, Bergdorf Goodman // Kay Unger Floral Boatneck Dress

Pat Nixon at her daughter’s wedding in 1971 // Dolce and Gabbana Floral Brocade dress, net-a-porter // Teri Jon Lace & Gazaar Convertible Slip Dress, Saks

 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis at Caroline’s wedding // Laura Bush in Oscar de la Renta at daughter Jenna’s wedding // Badgley Mischka Off-The-Shoulder Belted Sheath, Saks

GETTING MARRIED IN A MAGICAL LANDSCAPE ‘Expect the unexpected’ by Gwen Cover

jokulsarlon-glacier-lagoonJökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (Iceland’s Iceberg Bay)

Forget debating over the benefits of the sun, fresh food and the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean when Iceland can offer a wedding destination that is unique, stunning and picture perfect beyond your imagination.

Couples who choose to have their ceremony in Iceland will have a vast choice of adventure with breathtaking backdrops.

Not for the faint-hearted, but for the bride and groom who are super excited to have an Iceland wedding adventure on an island of active volcanoes, snow-covered glaciers, hot springs and mountains near geothermal pools.

Affectionately named the ‘land of fire and ice,’ this beautiful North Atlantic island can cater to your fantasy of an epic wedding day.

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The question is . . . what type of ceremony would match your fantasy?

Here are some suggestions and tips to consider!

You can opt to wed in a romantic countryside church in a valley among the backdrop of tranquility and natural surroundings. You would need to book 6-12 months in advance as there are few small romantic churches in Iceland due to their small population (just over 328,000). Therefore, careful planning, especially in the summer months is advised in order to have the church of your choice.

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Above – Northern lights at the famous black church for Iceland Weddings.  Budir Church Wedding Snæfellsnes Peninsula (and below).

budir.church.weddinghttps://www.hotelbudir.is/weddings/

hellnar seaside church

 Hellnar Church Seaside Country Church Snæfellsnes Peninsula.http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?attachment_id=3547

The vibrant and artistic hub of downtown Reykjavik (pronounced Rey – ka – vik) – the capital of Iceland – is also a popular choice for ceremonies.

Below is the majestic Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran Cathedral (the official church of Iceland), the tallest and most prominent building in Reykjavik. There are specific requirements to marry in this church and so to avoid disappointment, you would need to plan at least 12-18 months in advance and consider the help of an Iceland wedding planner.

Reykjavik's-churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja

If you would rather have your epic wedding day outdoors, there are numerous options to explore. A few are mentioned below.

Your ceremony can be set against a 60 feet stunning waterfall such as the Seljalandsfoss below.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The fabulous advantage of this waterfall is that you can walk behind and marry right in front of it. The practical issue to overcome is the noise level. The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is remarkable with a roaring natural sound. For your guests to hear the exchange of your wedding vows, you will need a microphone and speaker system. No kidding!!!!!

seljalandsfoss-waterfall.ann

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?s=Seljalandsfoss+Waterfall&submit=Search

There are also safety factors to consider, such as wearing appropriate shoes so as not to slip on the rocks and taking an umbrella and coat to protect yourself and your guests from the waterfall sprays. With planning and good advice, you will marvel in the splendor of your surroundings and have wonderful memories of your wedding day.

Another outdoor ceremony can be arranged in the expansive moss lava fields that have grown over volcanic rocks for thousands of years.

Hotel ION – The luxury adventure hotel amidst the moss lava fields.

ION_17http://ioniceland.is/

Or on a magical black sandy beach on the shores of Reynisfjara beach, often referred to as Vik beach, if you like the ocean, the wind, puffin birds (if you are fortunate to see them) and the sand.

Vik Beach

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/?s=vik+beach&submit=Search

Skardsvik beach - Snaefellsnes peninsula

Skardsvik beach – Snaefellsnes peninsula

Below is a Basalt rock cave at Vik beach (Hálsanefshellir Cave) where you may have a spiritual Icelandic wedding ceremony inside.

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Be daring and consider having your ceremony in the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon (Yeah…try pronouncing this!!) in southern Iceland as featured below.

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And not to mention the stunning location in Iceland’s Iceberg Bay. Officially known as Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

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As you can see, there are many surreal backdrops to choose from.

What about the weather you may ask?

Ignore the misconception that Iceland is covered in snow. It is an island of all weathers where rain, snow, wind and sunshine can be experienced in one day!! 

The temperature can range from somewhere between 35-55 fahrenheit. Therefore, expect to cater for the unexpected by being prepared.

Engage the help of your family and the relevant professionals. Learn a little about the culture. Have faith. Do your research. Have a Plan B. And budget wisely as Iceland is a very expensive island. You will be unable to control all potential worries (such as a volcano eruption) but working alongside a wedding planner will ensure plans are in place to cater for eventualities.

Imagine having your wedding day in the early morning of the daylight hours or under the midnight sun. Simply magical!

The summer months of June, July and August are bright with daylight up to 22-24 hours. You could be eating your wedding breakfast and enjoying your reception at a seaside restaurant under the midnight sun.  How awesome is that!

Or you can opt for the quiet, snowy tranquil dark hours of the winter months with less than 4 hours sunshine each day? And maybe have the chance to observe the Northern Lights at the same time.

Hotel ION – the Luxury Adventure Hotel

ION_18

http://ioniceland.is/

Whichever location and time of year you plan to have your ceremony, your epic wedding adventure in stunning Iceland will be magical.

Have a wonderful experience as you say “I DO” with dreamy memories to last you a lifetime.

About the Editor:

Gwen Cover is your Life Design Friend. She provides the space for smart women to nurture themselves, connect with their inner wisdom/beauty, have mind pampering treatments and reinvent their careers. She is highly sought after by private clients and business owners throughout the UK/London. Her clients describe having ‘aha moments’ creating a road map for a new lifestyle and perhaps more importantly, plenty of adventure along the way.

Cover resides in London, England where she runs a successful business through coaching, workshops, writing and kindness retreats named the Life Design Salon.

 Many thanks for the permission to use the Photos above courtesy of :

Iceland Wedding Planner and Photography Team

http://icelandweddingplanner.com/

https://icelandweddingplanner.com/iceland-wedding-planning/

Photos by Miss Ann

http://www.photosbymissann.com/

Hotel ION – The Luxury Adventure Hotel

http://ioniceland.is/

Hotel Budir – Weddings at Hotel Budir

https://www.hotelbudir.is/weddings/

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja

Subject: See Attachment, YOU’RE INVITED! E-Invitations For the Modern Couple

The tech age has certainly changed the bridal industry and the traditions surrounding the big day. A lot of things have been made easier: you can browse for your dress, preview venues, research caterers and wedding planners, even thoroughly vet your bridal party’s progress all from the comfort of your sofa. The online marketplace has also opened up some new phenomena that are certainly altering tradition— namely, online invitations.

No, I am not talking about those silly JibJabs your uncle or co-worker is obsessed with. As of 2014, there are a number of sites that specialize in wedding e-vites. These are sophisticated, high-class designs to fit any theme and are perfect for international or large weddings, eco-conscious and new-age couples. The sites are virtually stress-free and make it easy to save time for other elements of the wedding, like cake tasting.

Here are the top three:

1. Paperless Postpaperlesspost.com

This site is the pioneer in online invitations. It’s perfect for the creative bride who has an idea and needs an easy way to put it into fruition. Offering a number of gorgeous motifs, the site has everything from save the date to bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner invitations, allowing you to match the invitations or pick from a few variant designs. The aesthetics of these invitations are so realistic and beautiful you will feel like you can pick them up off the screen. Perhaps the best thing about Paperless Post, however, is that you can personally create and edit invitations online in a matter of minutes. You can choose from over 50 font types, alter the alignment, sizing and color. If you have some family that require more tangible invites, the site will allow you to create a mixture of online and print cards.

2. Evitepostmark.com

Similarly, Evite offers several types of invitations in an array of styles and with equal flexibility. When you select an e-vite, you can choose the color, whether or not you want it to come in an “envelope,” choose the liner and stamp, customize the font, wording, and size. What’s particularly unique is that you can insert text cards for additional information as well as up to 6 photo cards to include, perfect for the couple who’s taken engagement photos and wants to show them off. The site also allows you to easily import your contact list and save drafts — in case there are too many options to choose from immediately.

3. Celebrationscelebrations.com

Need a bit more direction but want to know you’re getting a great design? While there is less editing potential here, Celebrations allows talented artists to post unique invitation designs for a variety of wedding-related events. You can narrow your search by color and style, from “hand drawn” to “textured” or “retro.” The site also allows you to choose from one or two image ports as well as offering the ability to send print in addition to digital invites with RSVPs included. With hundreds of options to choose from, you certainly won’t feel limited.

DIY vs. Don’t Even Try: Let’s Talk International Destination Weddings

 

There are no rules with a destination wedding.  Not today, not anymore.  Freedom and style, especially for international brides, trump conventional ‘rules.’  The way it was done before still holds some merit, the only difference is that now it’s connected to deeper cultural traditions, the merging of different backgrounds and a real respect for new multi-cultural traditions. That said, it is pretty important when jumping into an international meeting with real brides about destination wedding plans to really get to the heart of what a bride needs to know must be established. Recently speaking to real bride Faz Abdul Gaffa, who intends on having a ceremony in Singapore and also one in New Jersey, it was important to break the ice and give her sound advice that can help her make a decision she feels good about.
So, at 10:00am EST and 10:00pm Singapore time, Faz greeted me on our first Google+ Hangout session with a bright and open twinkle in her eye with that blazing question that every bride-to-be should ask herself and someone else: do I really need a wedding planner? The answer is YES, an overwhelming yes. With limited time for our first e-meet-and-greet, we had plenty of territory to cover. As Faz had already decided on a private yacht in the Singapore harbor overlooking its skyline as her first wedding location, we moved on to the save the date announcements. I suggested that these be sent out as soon as possible, 9-12 months are ideal. The formal invitation should be sent out anywhere from two to three months ahead of your wedding date. Let’s not forget to list your URL on your invite so guests can go online to your wedding site and find out information on places to stay, special rates, location maps, airport transport, etc. Ceremony locations and timelines of your multiple events should be listed among other guest information. As you can see during the second part of our conversation I literally had so much to squeeze in to ensure she knew all that happens during wedding planning that you may notice Google+ Hangouts simply stopped switching the camera between us both and just focused on my attempt to fill her in.  With weddings, there is simply so much to consider.  Imagine, if one 24 minutes Google+ Hangouts session seems to be a lot, what happens once the ball gets rolling with vendors, flowers, guests, accommodations, officiants, etc.
Faz has a vision of a stylish, intimate to medium sized wedding and is considering inviting the same wedding guests to travel to both international ceremony destinations.  I felt compelled to let her know that what actually sounds like one wedding, in this case, is actually two and that this is why getting those save the dates out the door sooner than later was very important. Multi event locations can become very costly and time consuming for your guest and can take a lot of planning on their side as well. We do admire her pazazz but from experience we know that planning has frustrated countless brides in the past. Brides should be free of this burden because the level of stress is literally the opposite of what our bride should feel on her wedding day splendor. It’s a conversation that marks the beginning of a trusting relationship.
To hear Faz tell the story of how she met her fiancé, John, at a Halloween party shows the joy she feels about her approaching nuptials and the love she has for her partner, but I find it’s pretty important for brides to understand that there is a craft to wedding and event planning. Our job is to incorporate your personalities, vision and dreams into your wedding and to take care of every detail, so you don’t have to. Whether it’s day of coordination, partial planning or full planning, for anyone planning a memorable event, let alone planning a wedding (or two!), we don’t only create for the sake of the host or bride and groom to look their best amongst their family and friends.  We become the creators so that couples can enjoy guests and the magic they envisioned. Though the decision making process at this stage can cause some anxiety, it’s not as black and white as many think.  For brides who are reconsidering planning their own event (in lieu of articles like this), who don’t have access to a gratuitous budget, we actually created Weddings in a Box package, an all inclusive must-have kit for those deciding to elope or who prefer to have an intimate ceremony with a special touch but without the ongoing details of a full scale wedding.  With this option brides can keep a close relationship with an upscale planner but from a consulting perspective.  Ahhh, the power of choice.
Faz is a young professional in love, who should be absolutely hassle free on her big days.  Directing her own multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-destination wedding when she’s never done it before is like refashioning the engine of a rare car without all of the parts.  With one year from her weddings, Faz will now have to decide if she will weather the DIY wedding planning storm or if she’ll consider other options.  She can pick up where we left off once she chooses a date. Well, two dates.

About Marc Wilson:

Marc Wilson is the Guest Lifestyle Editor of World Bride Magazine, a 2013 Big Apple Award nominee and the Founder and Creative Director of Weddings by MWD Lifestyles.  Marc’s company, MWD Lifestyles (formerly Marc Wilson Design), is a full scale wedding, event design, production and planning company with destination partnerships and capabilities and has grown to be the name in the decor and events, weddings and destination industry it is today.  Marc’s fifteen years within the events industry has resulted in national and international recognition and, to date, MWD Lifestyles has worked with Rolex, Hugo Boss, Martha Stewart Weddings and MGM Metro Goldwyn Mayer.  Marc’s work has been published in Grace Ormond Wedding Style, Design Bureau, New York Weddings, Manhattan, Essence, Weddings by Design, The Knot, Brides and Town&Country. FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.

Own A Piece Of America: Rancho Santa Fe

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Destination weddings involve more than just picking a location, sending out invites, and hoping everyone who r.s.v.p.’d shows up.  It requires complete and thoughtful planning.

While planning your nuptials locally, your  concerns may be a bit more simple, perhaps because your vendors are easily accessible to you.  Your primary focus will most likely be choosing a venue that will accommodate your sense of style, your budget, and your guest count.  You may go so far as to take into consideration driving accommodations to and from the location, as well as parking on the grounds.

Local vendors may prove to be more accessible for meetings, making you feel more at ease with your choice of doing business with them.

There is a big contrast when your wedding is not being held locally. What makes you feel more secure about the services you are going to receive?

You are completely at the mercy of management, internet reviews, and writers (such as magazines, like ours), hoping for an honest review about the experience at an establishment.

Thus the reason why we at WBM take it very seriously when we seek out venues, vendors, hotels, restaurants, caterers, florists, photographers and everything else that encompasses your big day.  We realize that what we put in writing will affect one of the most important moments of your life.

As one of our favorite states in America, California continues to maintain a warm spot in our hearts.  It is the state where the sun kisses your skin daily and the views are magnificent from one region to the next. On this trip, we decided to visit Rancho Santa Fe. This beautiful region totally impressed us with its rich history and Mexican-inspired architecture, which remains a part of its current lifestyle.

 

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Our wedding location of choice would be Rancho Valencia a Relais & Châteaux property, right in the heart of this town. The view, before you even get to the grounds, proves to be breathtaking. You will realize, during the scenic ride to the property, that you have left all your cares and stress back at the airport!

The grounds are perfectly manicured, and the top-class service begins as soon as you hit the parking lot, complete with valet parking. The front desk is stationed through the courtyard of this brilliant piece of architecture that was built with the intent of complimenting  the Mediterranean-inspired grounds. Thirty million dollars was invested to assure that your stay proved to be nothing but the best.  This five-star resort makes promises that it has every intentions of keeping.

After checking into our three-bedroom suite with its private Jacuzzi, full kitchen, bathroom in each room, and a chef-like kitchen, a patio that clearly makes you feel at home, I knew that nothing would go wrong.  After dropping our bags in our suite, we walked the grounds to get familiar with our surroundings.

The property is fully equipped with a full-service spa, fitness center, yoga space, swimming pool, tennis court and walking trail, which will bring you total peace. As if that wasn’t enough, the private areas for weddings are only one step short of perfection. You have a choice of having your wedding in the outdoor space on the property, or for a larger group, the ballroom space, which is more than suitable for the absolutely pickiest client.

This piece of paradise is not only fit for a queen, but his royal highness will be more than pleased with the private room that will enchant him and his groomsmen. From The Pony Room, The Wine Room, to the Veladora, nothing about this space will disappoint you.

 

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On top of that, the food is absolutely divine.  As you know, we are sticklers for customer service, and the Rancho Valencia food and beverage team did not disappoint us in that area. We were more than pleased with our treatment, the menu, and the list of options for all our dining needs.

If you decide not to drive in, Porsche has partnered with Rancho Valencia to provide you luxury at your fingertips. Why Porsche?  Why not?  Porsche is the how you spell luxury. The location calls for it, why not go all out and enjoy the toys that come along with it during your stay. The history of the brand is enchanting enough to enjoy it at the very least during your wedding or honeymoon stay and not feel guilty.

In addition to the already listed amenities, Rancho Valencia has a list of preferred vendors that will make sure your day is as perfect as you imagined it. And if after your day is completed and you just can’t imagine not being able to enjoy all of these amenities again, you are offered the opportunity to own a piece of paradise.

 

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“Along with what may be the world’s most perfect climate, owners at Rancho Valencia enjoy a refined and quiet sensibility—the glamour of old Hollywood, the thrill of Del Mar racing, the simple pleasure of a picnic at the beach.  It’s an inviting place where families come together, friends are made and life is cherished.”

 

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May your quest for the right destination be filled with joy and great excitement.   For us at WBM we will continue to journey across the globe to find you some of the worlds greatest Hidden Treasures.

Getting Away From It All in Dazhai Village, China

When we say that we want to “get away from it all,” how much of that do we truly mean? Sure, most of us are able to do without simple conveniences like our cars or televisions for a few days, but what about truly escaping? Forgoing our cell phones, computers, and even the convenience of paved roads, all in the name of “getting away?” I never thought that I was one of those people. I have never had a desire to unplug. Now, this could possibly be due to the generation I come from; I was born during the rise of the computer. I’ve never known a life without a computer or mobile device, so I’ve never felt overwhelmed by them, or felt a need to get away from them. For me, they are simply matters in the facts of life. Luckily for me, I inadvertently put myself in a situation that would change my perspective on what it means to unplug. When I put a visit to the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces of the Dazhai Village in Southeastern China on my agenda, I had no clue what I was in for, and boy do I thank myself for it.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

My journey starts in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong. I had an extremely ambitious plan for getting my English-only speaking self from Hong Kong, across the Chinese border to Shenzhen, then on a flight to Guilin, followed by a bus ride to Guilin’s very distant train station, onto another bus to the Longsheng rice fields, ending with an hour-long hike up a mountain to my accommodations in Dazhai… all in less than 12 hours. Sometimes, ambition born of ignorance can make for the most incredible experiences. I didn’t know it at the time, but embarking on a trip like this, all in one day, not knowing a word of any Chinese language, was really a fool’s errand. I, however, was blissfully unaware, and more importantly, unafraid, so I pressed on. 

My journey started with an hour-long bus ride, from the city-center of Hong Kong, to the border crossing city of Shenzhen, in mainland China. I’d purchased a ticket upon a bus that would drive me to the border, have me disembark for immigration, then re-embark once I’d cleared immigration, and carry me on to the airport. Once I’d made my way to the airport in Shenzhen, it was a short, one hour and twenty minute flight to my hub-city of Guilin. While I was able to traverse this leg of my trip with relative ease, once I stepped off the airplane in Guilin, I became acutely aware of the adventure I had set myself on.

One thing that is unique about traveling to Guilin, which is different from my travels to other places in the world, is the lack of English. Signage baring a familiar alphabet was scarce, and the usage of a familiar word was as almost completely absent. Even with my Chinese phrase book in hand, the simple task of finding the correct bus to the train station was tumultuous. After several rounds of Pictionary with the myriad of bus drivers waiting outside of the airport, I was able to find someone who could understand my scribblings of a Thomas the Tank Engine-esq friendly-faced train, and I was set on my way.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

Once I arrived at the Guilin train station, I was set in the center of a parking lot, and pushed into a sea of unfamiliarity. This juncture was different from the last, however. While at the airport I found people running away from me, here I found people pouncing on me! “Longsheng! American!” Hands pointing exuberantly at pictures of rice terraces and happy tourists soon came to encroach upon my bubble of confusion; all baring different prices and different destinations within the rice terraces. I was overwhelmed,  so I escaped to a phone booth where I could be alone with my thoughts, and more importantly, my notes. Luckily, I’d been archiving weeks and weeks of research into my Evernote app, and was prudent enough to print them before leaving Hong Kong. I knew that I needed to get on a bus to Longsheng, and I knew how much I should pay, but how was I to communicate this to the drivers? I took a deep breath and decided that I was going to make this situation work. But before I could even cross the sidewalk back into the parking lot, I heard something familiar! “Excuse me sir. Sir! Are you headed to the rice terraces?” I had never wanted to so hug a stranger like I did in that very moment. They were a group of French tourists headed the same place that I was, and they noticed my obvious disorientation and bewilderment, and invited me along. After some haggling with a driver, we crammed our 11 bodies into a 10-passenger van, and set course for the rice terraces.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether the drive from Guilin took us 1 hour, or 10 hours, but I can tell you that it was exhausting. After being mentally drained, dropped in a vastly unfamiliar place, and crammed into a glorified rickshaw, I was just happy to be in-motion. Nothing else mattered. I closed my eyes and awoke to a paradise so majestic, I could have mistaken it for a multi-billion dollar set from a movie. Waking up in the valley of hand-carved rice patties was unlike anything I had ever seen, and it immediately put my journey into perspective. It felt like I was standing at the end of Earth, a place untouched by time; surely my journey, for all of its difficulties, had been worth it.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

I began my ascent to the Dazhai Village with an interesting encounter. As I’m rolling my suitcase up the path, a little old lady comes running after me, grabbing my bag! It was not an unexpected experience, but it still caught me off-guard. In my research, I’d found that locals make their entire economy from tourists, and one of their industries happens to be portering your luggage up the mountain for you. Equipped with straw-and-leather baskets strapped to their backs, these women (who could not have been any younger than 50) hike with the agility of a teenager up the mountain with your belongings. At first, being a healthy, grown man, I felt a bit silly relinquishing my bag; but after 10 minutes of climbing a narrow, stone-paved path up a mountain, it all made sense. 

After meandering through a string of small villages for almost 30 minutes, I finally came to a river crossing that sat in the shadow of the Dazhai Village. I was 15 minutes way from reaching the destination I had dreamt about for months. I gathered my breath, collected my thoughts, and made the final climb to what would be my home for the next three days.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

There are no hotels in the Dazhai Village, so I had arranged my hostel online in advance. For a mere $11.00 USD per day, I would have my own room, comprised of only a memory-foam mattress, a small bathroom, an air conditioner, and an incredible view! What more could I ask for? I settled into my private room and began the process of decompressing. Just having made it to such a remote place was a huge boost for my ego. It is amazing how enduring strife can make overcoming that much sweeter. I lay down, closed my eyes, and drifted away for the night.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

There is no fancy lap pool here, no breakfast buffet, and no list of tours and excursions to go on. No, this place is quite possibly the most opposite you can get of that. This is where you come to do nothing. Visitors fill their days with hiking the area, reading, and engaging with other travelers. Each morning, I would head downstairs to the common area, where I would sit, order everything on the left side of the menu, and have conversation with other visitors for hours on end. We would then fill our afternoon by hiking to the smaller villages and lookout points situated on the almost endless bounty of terraces. It is the definition of “being with nature.” Aside from sending a few pictures to my friends and family using the horrendous (and extremely governmentally-restricted) internet connection, I never once thought about my trappings of modern culture in America. I did not care about the time, or the weather, or the score from the game, or any of that. I was living in the moment.

Journeying to, and staying in the Dazhai Village is an experience that draws an oxymoron from you when trying to relay your feelings. It was like I did everything and nothing at all. I mean, how can one go through an experience like this and not be changed on some level? In my adult life, there have been few experiences that have challenged me like this trip has, but it has shaped how I view myself, how I deal with and overcome adversity, and how getting away from convenience can make one a better person.

Victor Amos
Editor At Large

Tom Ford Says There is Power in Aroma

Hey Fellas! Want to know how to get a woman’s attention without speaking or even exchanging looks? It’s all about the aroma! A nice smelling cologne has the power to bring the strongest to attention. A nice cologne is a must-have for any man, especially for that man  that still wants to keep Ms. Right’s attention. Tom Ford has an abundance of fragrances that will suit any man’s taste and natural pheromones. Whether you’re an outdoors type of guy or always suited for the office, there is a fragrance with your name on it.

Cheap cologne will do completely the opposite or will have that same woman running the complete opposite direction of you. Any woman worth keeping will appreciate a man’s fine fragrance. Neimanmarcus.com features all the flavors to meet your desires.

For my Modern Man…

Tom Ford is a fragrance that screams luxury and is for our refined gentleman who prides himself in seduction and sophistication. The wood fragrance combines sensuality and modern influences, creating exactly what a scent catering to a man should be.

For my Rebel…

Limited edition Tom Ford Extreme is for the man who marches to the beat of his own drum. This Beauty Award 2010 nominee reflects any man with impeccable style.  The fragrance is blended with Persian lemons, Black Italian figs and Patchouli. This fragrance is an icon for masculinity.

For my Simple Guy…

If cologne is not for you don’t sweat it! Neroli Portofino is a fresh body spray designed specifically for you. It features crisp citrus oils, fresh waters and hints of floral. Leaving you feeling fresh, clean and desirable. This scent is lighter but vibrant and will leave you feeling confident.