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September 2018

Harrisburg Lodging Harrisburg/Hershey Lodging Hotel Indigo IHG hospitality Lodging near Pennsylvania State Capitol Modern Hotels Violet Oakley Art Where to stay in Harrisburg

Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey

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  • September 25, 2018
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Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey
Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey
Hip, contemporary, and friendly are words to describe the Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, the hotel partners with many local businesses and attractions in both the Harrisburg and Hershey areas.


Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey

Each IHG Hotel Indigo location tells a story, said Austin Meyer Whitlock, Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey sales manager. Much of Harrisburg’s rich history is reflected in the art and decor of Harrisburg’s newest lodging option, a signature Hotel Indigo, 765 Eisenhower Blvd.,  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Hotel Indigo Harrisburg - Hershey
Austin Meyer Whitlock is the sales manager at Hotel Indigo Harrisburg -Hershey, a contemporary, hip hotel.

Hotel Indigo Harrisburg -Hershey is part of the IHG® family of brands and is best described as a contemporary, hip hotel that’s ideal for guests of all ages, but particularly those who are looking for their not-so-typical, stylish boutique lodging experience. The first Hotel Indigo opened its door to the public in 2004 across from midtown Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre. Since the brand’s debut, each of its locations has been strategically placed in neighborhoods that support its commitment to the arts and entertainment. The local influence is profound and without a doubt, what sets Hotel Indigo apart from other accommodations nearby the Harrisburg – Hershey site. You’re greeted with fusion and hot jazz music playing in the background, which inevitably sets the stage for an unforgettable stay. You’ll be dazzled by the locally-sourced ART, food, and a rich décor with a color palette and blend of texture that reaches from the lobby to each of the guestrooms.

Violet Oakley artist
Violet Oakley was an American artist and trailblazer for women’s rights.  Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey honors her work with an interpretive image on display near the lobby.

Whitlock said his favorite decor item is an interpretive image of Violet Oakley, a turn-of-the-century artist, and trailblazer for women’s rights.  The mural is located at the beginning of the hallway close to the hotel’s meeting rooms.

He explained, “Ms. Violet Oakley was the first woman to receive a large commission for the Capitol Building and although she completed many (pieces of art) she did not receive much acclaim for them until later in her life.”

Whitlock shared his thoughts about Hotel Indigo in an EXCLUSIVE email and in-person interview that culminated on Fri., Sept. 28. 

How does the Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey compare with IHG’s other properties?

I will enunciate upon this a little bit later – but the cool thing about Hotel Indigo as a brand under the IHG umbrella is that it can’t be compared to a Holiday Inn or a Candlewood. Those brands are of course well known and established, but they are built on the idea that you can have the same expectation for them no matter which one you go to. Hotel Indigo is different, each and every one is unique.

How would you describe the hotel and its overall atmosphere?

I would describe our hotel as being modern, crisp, clean and open. Here you will find shiny surfaces, angled lines (reflecting the Harrisburg bridges and architecture) comfortable furnishing, and lots of natural light.

What do you believe is Hotel Indigo’s role in the Harrisburg/Hershey communities? How do the surrounding communities benefit from Hotel Indigo?

One fun fact about the Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey is that we are the first Hotel Indigo not to be built directly in a downtown or metropolitan area. That, of course, makes us unique and gives us a distinct advantage; we are smack in the middle of two great central Pennsylvania hubs – Harrisburg and Hershey. As mentioned previously our design and inspiration come from Harrisburg, but we love Hershey here as well. You’ll see this right away when taking a look at our Grab and Go food section. We also partner with and are located near a variety of Hershey attractions. We have a great shopping center directly across the street with tons of shopping and other food and beverage options as well – and we love to give suggestions on our favorite local spots.

What is the single most interesting fact about Hotel Indigo?

As mentioned prior – the single most interesting thing about Hotel Indigo is that no two are alike – each one is built to tell its own unique neighborhood story. There is no other Hotel Indigo like our Hotel Indigo, and we work to embrace that here. From our one of a kind shades featuring a topographical map of the Susquehanna River and the Harrisburg Area to our Riverrun restaurant and bar – you won’t find another hotel like us.

What is your background and how did your position as Hotel Indigo sales manager evolve?

I joined the staff at the beautiful Hotel Indigo Harrisburg Hershey as sales manager in July 2018 and first received my Bachelors in Communications in 2015. Directly out of college I worked for a company that did B2B training programs for hotels and restaurants. There I was a production manager and worked to coordinate internal projects and facilitate training video shoots with various hotels and restaurants. This gave me a lot of behind the scenes insight into the hotel and food and beverage industries. I then went on to work for an entertainment company where I also worked with coordinating various weddings and events with a variety of different hotels and other venues. I also have a plethora of different sales experience working for a telecommunications company and doing event promotion in the Philadelphia area. I joined on with the beautiful Hotel Indigo Harrisburg Hershey this past July and have been here since!

How does your restaurant menu(s) work with the region?

By brand, 20% of all Hotel Indigo’s F&B must be locally sourced. On our menu, you will find Kunzler’s bacon, Elementary coffee, and Urban Churn ice cream – all locally established brands that anyone visiting the area will come to love. We serve Spring Gate wine and Troegs beer as well – some other local favorites.

What are a few of the perks related to your role at the hotel?

I would say that the biggest perk for me is I get to be involved in helping each and every guest in our hotel feel special and appreciated. I love people and I love hospitality and anything I can do to make someone staying with us have an even better day is a plus for me.

The number to call for reservations is 1-800-496-7361 or reach the hotel directly at 1-717-558-7676.

For more information about Hershey and Harrisburg attractions, visit

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 


Check back again for “A Story to Tell: Part Two” or sign up for my mailing list and you’ll receive notifications when new articles appear.

#hotelindigoharrisburghershey #joanmatsuibesttravelwriter #joanmatsuiavidtraveler #visithersheyharrisburg

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Lifestyle Top 50 Zoos and Their Weirdest Animals Zoos

RAVE Reviews: “50 Best Zoos”

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  • September 24, 2018
Philadelphia Zoo RAVE Reviews

Zoo fans, don’t miss RAVE Reviews list of the “50 Best Zoos and Their Weirdest Animals.” 

After you read this article, find out why the Philadelphia Zoo made RAVE’s top 50 review list. Visit

Zoos are educational (and fun for all ages) and they foster a greater appreciation for all animals and the staff who care for them. Whether you’re a toddler or a senior citizen, you’ll learn key facts about a species and why we need to do our part to preserve natural habitats for all species that roam our earth. 

Text Courtesy of RAVE Reviews

Edited by Joan Mead-Matsui, Publisher

EUGENE, Ore., Sept. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — RAVE Reviews, the innovative site that publishes entertaining rankings based on advanced data-driven analysis, has published its ranking of the “Best Zoos” available at

Planning family adventures can be difficult at times. Trying to find the right amount of fun while maintaining your parental sanity is also a challenge. Going to the Zoo has been a staple family activity for a long time, and for good reason. Bears, Giraffes, Dragons (not fire-breathing, unfortunately), and all other kinds of weirdly fascinating creatures keep children entertained while they learn. If you are looking for a family road trip adventure or an afternoon out of the house, check out our detailed ranking of the Best Zoos and their weirdest animals!  

The methodology for this ranking is a combination of multiple factors including animal scarcity, special abilities, and an overall “WTF is that thing?!” rating.

Hillary Miller, managing editor of RAVE Reviews, states, “This ranking is a lot of fun because it focuses on the exhibits that make each zoo unique. Who knew there were so many animals that most of us have never heard of? (Or that something called a Matschie’s Tree-kangaroo would be so cute?) We hope the article will encourage readers to visit their local zoos and to be a bit more curious about the animals that they see.”

The Best Zoos ranking has no winners, just a list of 50 awesome zoos and their weird inhabitants.

The full list of winners includes:

San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, OH

Saint Louis Zoological Park, Saint Louis, MO

Fort Worth Zoological Park, Fort Worth, TX

Toledo Zoo, Toledo, OH

Bronx Zoo, New York, NY

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL

Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee, WI

North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC

Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH

Detroit Zoo, Detroit, MI

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL

Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne, WY

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Oklahoma City, OK

Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, MN

Dallas Zoo, Dallas, TX

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pittsburgh, PA

Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, SC

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Fort Wayne, IN

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LA

Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles, CA

Indianapolis Zoo, Indianapolis, IN

San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco, CA

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL

Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA

Denver Zoo, Denver, CO

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, CA

Kansas City Zoological Park, Kansas City

Zoo Miami, Miami, FL

Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA

Oakland Zoo, Oakland,CA

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA

Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR

San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio, TX

Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana, CA

Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento, CA

Louisville Zoo, Louisville, CA

Houston Zoo, Houston, TX

Nashville Zoo, Nashville, TN

Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, AZ

Riverside Park Zoo, Independence, KS

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo, NY

Orange County Zoo, Orange County, CA

Feel free to share your experiences at any of these zoos. Use the contact form below.
RAVE Reviews offer is an authoritative guide for consumer goods, entertainment, and travel.  
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Get the MUC-OFF

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  • September 20, 2018
Muc-OFF Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit

Muc-Off 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit

When Keeping Your Ride Fresh and Clean Is An Obsession

Muc-OFF 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit Review
Muc-OFF Tool Kit is an extraordinary gift for yourself and your friends and family.
Imagine the dirt and grime that collects on your bike following an afternoon of forging new trails. This year will go down in the record books as the rainiest year in the Northeast, and after only two days of mountain biking through the woods, my mountain bike was covered with mud and debris. One summer afternoon, my son and his friend, J.J. took off on an adventure with our family’s mountain bikes.
Muc-OFF 8 IN 1 Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit
A mountain bike can lead you to a pristine stream through mud and grime that can wreak havoc on your bike’s frame and moving parts. Photo by J.J., my son’s friend.
Yoshi wanted to treat J.J. to a mid-afternoon swim in a nearby stream.  To get there, they accessed the swimming hole through a cornfield. It’s a country summer scene that’s right out of a watercolor painting — rows of stalks with corn ready to be picked surrounded by mature trees, a deep pool of refreshingly cool water, and a century-old train Tressel.
Muc-OFF 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit Review
This is a PERFECT gift for a cyclist who has everything.
Once the weather allows, Yoshi will have an opportunity to test Muc-OFF on his mountain bike. 
The Muc-Off 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit is the perfect treatment for bike aficionados to show their two-wheeled treasures some love.  Thanks to the Muc-OFF developers, cyclists can access the most FANTASTIC cleaning kit (I’ve seen anywhere) in the drop of a hat. The packaging alone is a statement about the product’s brand authenticity. What’s inside the toolkit? You’ll find a Nano Tech Bike Cleaner, Expanding Microcell Sponge, Soft Washing Brush, Detailing Brush, Claw Brush, Two Prong Brush, Bike Spray, and Storage Tub. Yes, that’s correct. You can rest assured this kit has pretty much everything you’ll need to keep your bike in tip-top shape.

Muc-OFF 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit
This kit has everything you’ll need.

Tackle the trickiest bike cleaning issues from stains to caked-on dirt and grime lodged into difficult to reach nooks and crannies.  Tires and spokes will look new, too. Teach your young adult kids to care for their bicycles.

Muc-OFF 8 in 1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit
The assortment of brushes and tools allow you to access difficult to reach nooks and crannies.

Muc-OFF is the answer to your dilemma – what to buy the bike enthusiast for special occasions. Who wouldn’t want to have a portable, attractive, and functional all-in-one kit? You can also purchase refills and restock your toolkit as needed.


  • Nano Tech Bike Cleaner for quick and easy cleaning.
  • Four Muc-Off brushes and a microcell sponge for deep cleaning all the nooks and crannies
  • Bike Spray for post-wash protection against rust and corrosion.
  • Storage tub doubles as wash basin
  • The MSRP is $69.99.

Learn more about Muc-OFF here.

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biology programs and events Connecticut conservation Connecticut hunting and fishing Conservation programs Lifestyle Visit Connecticut wildlife programs

Discover Outdoor Connecticut

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  • September 17, 2018
Discover Outdoor Connecticult
DEEP Discover Outdoor Connecticut 2018
“Join the Force for the Resource” is the theme for the Discover Outdoor Connecticut, a free event sponsored by the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources. The family program will be held Sat., Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scroll down for the time, location, or directions. 

Discover Outdoor Connecticut

“Join the Force for the Resource”

A Fun-Filled Family Event

Education and conservation preserve Connecticut's natural resources
The goal for the Discover Outdoor Connecticut free family program is to educate and encourage young and old alike to experience Connecticut’s year-round natural resources. Fly tying is one of the instructional activities planned for the event.

Discover Outdoor Connecticut got its start in 2010 as “Hunting and Fishing Appreciation Day,” as a way to thank hunters and anglers for their roles as the key players in the conservation movement for more than 100 years.

Andrew Labonte, Discover Outdoor Connecticut chairman and wildlife biologist, said “The hunters and anglers showed their support by requesting taxes and special fees on hunting and fishing equipment to help pay for wildlife and fish management, habitat restoration, and other conservation programs through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program.”

The event was renamed “Discover Outdoor Connecticut: Join the Force for the Resource” to reflect the DEEP’s goal to expand the program’s offerings to include a wider variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Join the Connecticut Bureau of Natural Resources, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division and their guests on Sat., Sept. 22,  2018, at the Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area, 391 Route 32, North Franklin, CT for a fun-filled exploration of Connecticut’s fish and wildlife resources and the state’s legacy of outdoor traditions. 

Andrew provides more details about the event in an exclusive interview.

What role do you have in Discover Outdoor Connecticut?

I am the chairman of the event, responsible for contacting potential vendors and attendees, organizing and running monthly meetings, activities, and events, creating maps and brochures, and making sure things run smoothly on the day of the event.

What brought about this event and how many years has your organization offered this free program?

It was our goal this year to expand the event to include a wider variety of outdoor enthusiasts, and therefore we renamed the event “Discover Outdoor Connecticut: Join the Force for the Resource.”  Joining in the celebration of this year’s event are DEEP’s Air Management, Parks and Public Outreach, Wildlife, Fisheries, Habitat, Forestry, and the Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Divisions, as well as many others, such as  private hunting and fishing clubs, environmental education centers, foundations, and conservancies.

Discover Outdoor Connecticut
Children will have an opportunity to try their hands at crafts. “Build a Bluebird Nest Box” is one of the activities planned.

What is the ultimate goal i.e. resource conservation and preservation?

The ultimate goal is to expose as many youths and adults as possible to some type of outdoor related activity and raise awareness about resource conservation and preservation.  Hunters and anglers have been the primary source of funding for state fish and wildlife agencies to manage and conserve fish and wildlife populations and also purchase wildlife habitat for protection.  The management efforts that benefit Connecticut’s natural resources not only include fish and wildlife, but the air, land, water, and woods in which those animals live.  Funding to support our natural resources shouldn’t just come from hunters and anglers, but from all residents, particularly those who enjoy the outdoors. By introducing Connecticut residents to our state’s diverse natural areas and the fish and wildlife that live there, it is hoped they develop an appreciation and a sense of stewardship. Additionally, time spent outdoors benefits both our physical and mental health. Reconnecting people with nature is tremendously important.

What can attendees expect to find at the Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area?

The Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area consists of a 300-acre property open to all types of hunting including small game, waterfowl, pheasants and deer and includes a facility housing biologists with the Deer, Turkey, Migratory Bird, and Mosquito and Wetland Restoration Programs as well as a training area for conservation education programs.  On September 22, the facility will hold the Discover Outdoor Connecticut event which will include activities such as dog and raptor demonstrations of various sorts, milling and trapping demonstrations, opportunities to try turkey and moose calling, locally made venison products, kayaking, fly tying and casting, archery and firearms shooting, bb and dart gun shooting, and opportunities to gain knowledge in hiking, backpacking, knot tying, water filtration, wild edibles, bees and insects, and much, much more.

Discover Outdoor Connecticut
Looking for a relaxing way to spend your Saturday? Fly Tying, Archery, Decoy Painting, Birdhouse Building, and K-9 Search and Rescue are a few of the activities and educational offerings planned for the Discover Outdoor Connecticut program on Sat., Sept. 22, 2018.

What are a few of Connecticut’s most endangered species and/or resources and how do you address those issues at the program and throughout the year?

Connecticut’s most endangered species include meadowlarks, timber rattlesnake, cave-roosting bats like the little brown bat, and many other birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates like monarch butterflies, and fish like the Atlantic sturgeon. We provide a variety of information about both rare and common wildlife at the event. We will also have live raptor demonstrations, which will touch upon the threats these birds have faced as well as some conservation successes. Throughout the year, the Wildlife Division’s Wildlife Diversity Program biologists focus on the management and research of a large number of species of greatest conservation need which range from charismatic species such as bald eagles and box turtles to secretive species such as red bats and bog lemmings to critically endangered species such as barn owls and bog turtles, and more. The Division’s Outreach Program works to inform Connecticut residents about the plight of these species and what people can do to help.

Describe past programs and how they’ve helped to bring awareness to Connecticut’s natural resources.

Past events held by the Wildlife Division, whether they were public programs at our Sessions Woods Conservation Education Center or larger events like Hunting and Fishing Appreciation Day or the recent Bat Appreciation Day at Old New-Gate Prison, have engaged the public and offered information and hands-on experiences related to fish, wildlife, and our state’s natural resources. These programs have not only increased awareness of our agency’s role in caring for and managing wildlife and habitats, but they have helped build an understanding of the value and importance of wildlife, fish, and natural resources. They also highlight how effective we can be at conservation when we work together.

Who should attend the Discover Outdoor Connecticut event? What is the age range of attendees you’d like to see?

Anyone who has at least a passing interest in the environment around them should come to enjoy what the day has to offer.  It’s not something you can experience virtually through your smartphone or tablet. Nothing can replace the first-hand experience in the outdoors—from newcomer to novice, young or old—Discover Outdoor Connecticut day has something for everyone.  The sooner a person is exposed to the outdoors and all the amazing things it has to offer, the sooner they learn to appreciate where they live and how it should be respected.  There simply are no apps for that.

How have your sponsors embraced the DEEP program? What will they bring to the Discover Outdoor Connecticut?

Since its inception, the event has had the tremendous support that has continued through the years.  Local sportsman’s clubs and conservation groups have been long-time participants at the events bringing their support, local knowledge, and expertise. Local chapters of the Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited also support the event along with national retailers such as Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, L.L. Bean, Mossberg, and Home Depot, who not only bring volunteers with additional skills and knowledge, but also provide generous donations for door prizes that contribute greatly to the enjoyment of those who attend.

Typically, how many photo entries do you receive for the photo contest? What are some of THE MOST intriguing, creative, and captivating? How is the winner(s) recognized for his/her efforts?

This is our first year holding a photo contest and we have received over 300 entries. Ribbons and prizes (gift cards) were donated by the Friends of Sessions Woods, which has been instrumental in supporting many of our educational programs and exhibits. Anyone who wants to see the most intriguing, creative, and captivating photos should attend Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day, where they can sample some tasty venison samples prepared by Adolf’s Meats of East Hartford all while viewing the photos in person. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite photo, which will be awarded as the “People’s Choice” during the event. The contest winners will be recognized in future outreach efforts such as Connecticut Wildlife magazine.

Do you require preregistration or are drop-ins welcome?

Preregistration is not required and we very much welcome folks to simply drop in and spend as much time outdoors with us as they can.

Do you have in-house instructors teaching the various activities?

All of the shooting activities would not be possible if it wasn’t for a large group of volunteer instructors with our Conservation Education and Firearms Safety program who teach both firearms and archery skills.  In addition, staff and volunteers with expertise in fisheries, wildlife, trapping, forestry, boating safety, outdoor education, and with working dogs of various types, all play a critical role in sharing their knowledge about our environment.

Please name a few of the year-round outdoor activities available to Connecticut residents and visitors.

Visitors to the Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area and Conservation Education Center in Burlington can attend monthly educational programs and also tour the exhibit area and interpretive trails. The Division’s Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program offers courses in firearms, archery, and trapping, as well as advanced hunter education seminars and events for junior hunters. The Fisheries Division’s CARE (Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education) Program offers free fishing classes, including ice fishing classes, as well as learn to fish events throughout the year. A number of our wildlife management areas also offer great opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature photography. We also partner with other DEEP Divisions offering programs such as “No Child Left Inside® Great Park Pursuit”, nature centers such as Kellogg and Meigs Point, and many other conservation partners to provide natural resource programs and activities statewide. The best way to learn about some of these activities and events is to check the DEEP website (, as well as the Wildlife ( and Fisheries ( sections of the website. Sign up to receive free monthly electronic newsletters: Wildlife Highlights ( and CT Fishin’ Tips ( and follow us on Facebook (  You may even want to get a subscription to the official bi-monthly publication of the DEEP, Bureau of Natural Resources, “Connecticut Wildlife.

If you go, you’ll find directions to the Franklin Swamp Wildlife Management Area, 391 Route 32, North Franklin (here) Parking will be on-site.
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Fashion Fashion Shows Lifestyle New York City Fashion Shows Travel Fashion

Style Fashion Week New York

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  • September 16, 2018
Style Fashion Week New York Recap
Style Fashion Week 2018
Style Fashion Week New York featured world-class fashion and show-stopper performances and installations.

Style Fashion Week New York

Awe-Inspiring Fashion, Art, and Culture

Are you wondering what you missed during Style Fashion Week New York?

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to attend this year’s fall show Sept. 6 to 8 (due to unforeseen circumstances) but I don’t want my readers to miss a beat from the runway. The event featured the New York fashion scene at its finest with a full-scale style marketplace that submerges guests in the three areas they expect to see in New York: fashion, design, and art. Consumers also had a chance to mingle with brands and learn more about their designs.

What to wear for your next travel adventure is one of the dilemmas resolved, in my opinion, after I saw the photos of the styles presented on the runway. The options are limitless. Find your inspiration in the recap photos from Style Fashion Week New York organizers.

Style Fashion Week represents and integrates the diverse cultures of the world’s top fashion hubs: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Palm Springs, and Dubai with the finest in international designers, media, and celebrities. Season after season, fashion week producers reinvent their shows so there’s never a dull moment on and off the runway.

Day One

Designers, Romeo + Juliet Couture, David Tupaz, Richard Hallmarq, Bahmardi, Shay Kawaii and Adrian Alicia showcased SS’19 designs at the Manhattan Center on Day One, Sept. 6. Heather LaRose, Natalya and Naima performed courtesy of Vezt Music App and the models were beautified by Davines. 

Style Fashion Week New York
Choose these favorite styles and colors by designers, Romeo + Juliet, David Tupaz, Richard Hallmarq, Bahmardi, Shay Kawaii, and Adrian Alicia shown in this photo and combine them to create knock-out looks.

Day Two

Day two featured New York, designers, Matte Brand, Sweet Talk Swim, Adriana Sahar, Raul Penarada, Hirun Bangkok, Elie Madi and Rocky Gathercole. They showcased SS’19 designs at the Manhattan Center on Sept. 7.

Attendees and the media enjoyed performances by Chloe Maggs and Leah Kate presented by Vezt Music App. No one worried about dehydration under the lights. Essentia Water kept attendees, models, and designers hydrated throughout the night. Tipsy Girl Wines made viewing the season’s hottest fashions even more relaxing.

Can you imagine the excitement of seeing the designers’ latest collections as the models took to the stage? What’s a fashion show without an extraordinary backdrop? The decor was provided by Jimmy DeLaurentis. Sitting front row was Ming Lee Simmons, Diggy Simmons, Julz Goddard (YesJulz), WolfTyla,  Sihoban Bell,  Deborah Cox, and others.

Style Fashion Week New York
Style Fashion Week produces world-renown fashion events that highlight the top designers and their collections.

Day Three

On day three of Style Fashion Week New York, designers, Marco Marco, FUNARI New York, Ydamys Simo, Emma Altman, BBTC / Love Baby J, Chick, Father Akki and Smock Me showcased SS’19 designs at the Manhattan Center. Vezt Music App presented performances by Chloe Maggs.

For three nights in a row, Essentia Water and Tipsy Girl Wines kept attendees, models, and designers hydrated throughout the night. The models received first-class beauty treatments by Davines.  Jimmy DeLaurentis provided the decor.

If you missed Style Fashion Week New York, plan on attending one of the upcoming events in the following cities: 

February | New York Fashion Week | Style Fashion Week

March | Los Angeles Fashion Week | Style Fashion Week

April | Palm Springs Fashion Week | Style Fashion Week

April | Coachella Festival | Dusk Till Dawn

August | Hamptons Summer Series | Style Artist Lounge

September | New York Fashion Week | Style Fashion Week

October | Los Angeles Fashion Week | Style Fashion Week

December | Art Basel Miami | Style Artist Lounge

More From The Style Fashion Week Producers

Style Fashion Week helps to share the cost of these major productions—providing designers the platform to display their work on the same level as their luxury competitors. Style Fashion Week recognizes that these designers are a vital piece of the fashion community and will continue to work to support them.

If you’d like additional information about the designers, performers, or beauty products featured at Style Fashion Week New York, contact 

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Art and Culture Fishing Destinations Food and Travel Lifestyle Pocono Mountain Resort Pocono Mountain Retreats Travel and Leisure

Family Engagement the Focus at Fernwood

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  • September 7, 2018
Fernwood Resort Lodging
If the kids are happy, mom and dad are typically more relaxed. Fernwood’s lodging offers guests spacious accommodations that exceed a small or large family’s needs.

Fernwood Resort: Creating Year-Round Family Experiences

Family Engagement the Focus at Fernwood

Family fun…Have you taken the time to create lasting memories with your family? You likely won’t hear any complaints of boredom from your kids or partner while you’re vacationing at Fernwood. The resort is surrounded by woods in a peaceful setting that’s ideal for hiking, foraging among the trees, or participation in a variety of activities.

Creating an experience that’s all-encompassing for families and guests of all ages is one of the challenges Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort co-owner, embraces.

Gina Bertucci
Gina Bertucci, co-owner, Fernwood Resort

With more than 18,000 member families, Fernwood Resort and the Villas at Tree Tops & Fairway®, 2157 River Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA, is part of RCI and is one of the largest vacation ownership properties in the Mid-Atlantic region with 650 beautifully-appointed villas.

“We have both timeshares and rentals so we’re a mixed-use property,” Bertucci explained. Lodging options range from one-to-four bedrooms with accommodations for every taste, with a home-like feeling and amenities from simple and economical to deluxe and spacious.

When you’re ready to venture out onto the property, you’ll also see why Fernwood has received “green” awards.

According to Bertucci, “As a business, when we were looking at how to develop these pieces of property, what did we do?”

The Pocono TreeVentures and zip line courses are examples of the extraordinary measures Bertucci and her partners have taken to preserve the beauty and nature on the property.


The Matsui family receives instruction before beginning the Pocono TreeVentures course. Photo submitted by Fernwood Resort.

“We looked at ways to preserve this property. There’s a stream that goes through it, but really when you’re up in the trees, you really do appreciate the nature and the beauty of this region.”

Everywhere you turn at Fernwood, there’s an activity that encourages family engagement. A few of the free on-site activities are swimming and weekly pool parties, summer family movie nights, picnics and BBQ nights. At an additional cost, try horseback riding at Bushkill Stables, Pocono TreeVentures Ropes and Zipline courses, Blue and White Lightning Tubing and Paintball. Visit Fernwood Resort’s website for prices and hours of operation.


Kento Matsui enjoys an afternoon of swimming at Fernwood Resort’s outdoor pool.



Family Resorts
Discover the countryside surrounding Fernwood Resort. You can explore on foot or by horseback at Bushkill Riding Stables. Reserve your horse and saddle by clicking here

Approximately 17 years ago, Bertucci and other businesses affiliated with the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau got together to answer the question, how can we continue to showcase the Poconos as a region to explore and enjoy, and at the same time, preserve its natural beauty?

The Fernwood partners, for example, utilized approximately 10 acres of gorgeous farmland for the TreeVentures and Zip Line courses.

“It’s beautiful and challenging and when you’re finished, you think I just did something and it’s great exercise. It’s about authenticity,” commented Bertucci. “And not everyone has had a chance to try horseback riding? For other people, it’s shopping at the Crossings (Premium Outlets), canoeing on the Delaware River, bike riding, seeing nearby Bushkill Falls or following a lovely natural walking path at the 77,000-acre at the Delaware Water Gap National Historic site.”


What’s our recommendation for off-site family engagement?

Don’t leave the Poconos without a stop at Bushkill Falls, known as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” With each season the landscape changes, providing a unique experience each time you visit. We suggest you reserve a half-day for your adventure.


Preservation of our natural scenic wonders is top-priority for Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort, representatives from other businesses and resorts and members of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau. Visit Bushkill Falls but please follow the rules as shown above. Observe and appreciate but hands-off plants and wildlife.

Bushkill Falls is host to many family adventures, schools, and group tours, weddings and is a fantastic photo op. I guarantee you will get your workout while on your trek up and down the steps leading to and from the basin. Grab a bite to eat at the snack bar and then stock-up on keepsakes and souvenirs at the gift shop.



When you need to cool off on a warm summer day, you will appreciate the cool mist of water from the cascading falls and the shady areas provided along the trail leading to the basin.

 Bushkill Falls is the “Niagara of Pennsylvania”

Why should you plan a trip to the Pocono Mountains’ region?

As the nights turn chillier and the leaves that adorn the trees of the Pocono Mountains fall to the ground and create a gentle blanket of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange, celebrate fall by tuning into the sounds of freshly fallen leaves underfoot. Celebrate the four seasons in the Pocono Mountains.

“There’s something for everyone in the Pocono Mountains. It’s all here and that’s fortunate for us. Family time is part of the fabric of our lives. You remember those moments together.” Gina Bertucci, Fernwood Resort.


My stay at Fernwood Resort was comped but my opinions are my own.







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Lifestyle New York City Lodging New York City wellness spas New York Hotels and Spas

HGU New York Hotel Teams with Modrn Sanctuary

  • By
  • September 6, 2018
HGU New York City
Take the time to focus on wellness
Information courtesy of HGU New York Hotel
Now is the time when you’ll want to focus on your “wellness” goals. In much the same way we prepare our vehicles and our homes for fall and winter, our bodies will also need special care to transition to the chilly days and nights.  HGU New York Hotel Partners are offering a special deal to help you to strive for and reach your wellness goals.
New wellness offerings at HGU New York include Somadome Meditation Pod, Sensory Seven Crystal & Energy Healing, a Himalayan Salt Room, 
and new ‘Salty Suite’ hotel accommodations.
The Pink Himalayan Salt Room at Modrn Sanctuary
NEW YORK, NY – September 6, 2018: HGU New York Hotel has partnered with luxury wellness center Modrn Sanctuary to offer both traditional and holistic health treatments and specialty services to hotel guests. The new wellness offerings include Somadome Meditation Pod, Sensory Seven Crystal & Energy Healing, Himalayan Salt Room, and new ‘Salty Suite’ hotel accommodations with in-room Himalayan salt amenities curated by Modrn Sanctuary. The new experiences will be available in-room (select treatments only) at HGU New York or at Modrn Sanctuary’s NoMad location, nearby the hotel.
Modrn Sanctuary is an elite team of practitioners and unique facilities that offer traditional spa services alongside specialized treatments. From conventional medical practices to alternative approaches, Modrn Sanctuary is a one-stop destination promoting integrative holistic health and the newest healing methods. An industry leader, Modrn Sanctuary is the only wellness center in New York City to currently offering Somadome, The Sensory 7 Light Sound Energy Therapy, and the Himalayan Salt Room in one location. Through its partnership with Modrn Sanctuary, HGU New York now offers these treatments and experiences to guests looking for a wellness-driven business or leisure stay in the NoMad neighborhood.
According to ML Perlman, Executive Director of Lifestyle and Wellness at HGU New York, “HGU New York continues to broaden our community of nearby wellness destinations in and around NoMad in order to curate the most exceptional experiences for our guests – in and out of guest rooms. Our partnership with Modrn Sanctuary is a unique opportunity for guests to expand their own practice of wellness during their stay.”
L-R: the Somadome, The Sensory 7 experience, Himalayan Salt Room
  • Somadome
    The first personal meditation dome integrating three healing modalities to facilitate meditation and ‘whole person’ alignment, Somadome provides a portable, private space for guests to enter and recharge from their busy lifestyles. Guests choose from one of eight themed, guided or unguided meditation tracks which combine traditional color theory with scientifically-tested binaural beat technology and proprietary energy-healing microcrystalline tiles. Each 20-minute session offers a unique, restorative experience.
  • The Sensory 7 Light Sound Energy Therapy
    The Sensory 7 is an immersive experience that combines seven healing modalities into one treatment (30-, 45-, and 60-minute sessions available) for rapid rejuvenation: Binaural Beats & Sound Therapy; Vibration Therapy; Vogel-Cut Quartz Crystals; Frequency Generator; LED Lights & Chromatherapy; Magnetic Therapy; and Infrared Biomat. The Sensory 7 Treatment can be offered in-room at HGU New York or at the Modrn Sanctuary studio.
  • Himalayan Salt Room
    Salt therapy, also called halotherapy, is a holistic healing method that reproduces the natural microclimate of a salt cave by dispersing saline aerosol in a high concentration in a room “constructed” of salt. The granulated salt in the air penetrates deep into the lungs, allowing the highly absorbent particles to draw out impurities and foreign substances. As for the many skin benefits, the microparticles in the air have a profound influence on the skin’s protective layers. The salt assists with normalizing pH levels of the skin which can, in turn, induce its natural regenerative and reparative processes. This makes salt therapy a great complement to any treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Treatments in the Himalayan Salt Room are semi-private and feature 30- minute sessions of salted relaxation.
The ‘Salty Suite’ Experience
In addition to Modrn Sanctuary’s offerings, HGU New York has created the new ‘Salty Suite’ package for guests looking to extend the salt experience beyond the Himalayan Salt Room. The new experience features in-room salt amenities curated by Modrn Sanctuary and includes an air-purifying salt lamp, nightlight, salt shot glasses, and Himalayan salt soaks. Guests are encouraged to take the shot glasses and nightlight home with them, extending their salty experience even more.
The new Modrn Sanctuary offerings and ‘Salty Suite’ accommodations are the latest additions to HGU New York’s curated list of wellness amenities and experiences. Guests of HGU New York can also take advantage of recently launched rooftop yoga classes, in-room guided meditation sessions, in-room REVIV vitamin IV treatments, cryotherapy sessions at Vitality NYC, GuardLab mouthguard fittings, a pillow concierge, and complimentary access to Solace Gym, directly next door.
Modrn Sanctuary treatment prices vary by experience. The ‘Salty Suite’ in-room package at HGU New York is available for $100.00 (for the duration of the stay) and can be added to any room reservation using the code “SALTY” when booking online.
For more information about HGU New York Hotel, visit
For more information about Modrn Sanctuary, visit
About HGU New York Hotel:
Alfa Development’s first hotel property, HGU New York Hotel, is situated in New York City’s coveted NoMad district. The 90-room 4-star boutique hotel offers guests a truly authentic experience of New York City showcasing the history of the 1905 Beaux-Arts foundation, complemented by contemporary art and modern renovations and amenities. Located at 34 East 32nd Street between Park and Madison Avenues, the property opened in July 2016. HGU New York is a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH).
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Georgia tourism Lifestyle Travel Advice Visit Georgia Where is Georgia located? World Travel World Travel Trends

7 Reasons You Should Never Visit Georgia (the country)

  • By
  • September 4, 2018
7 Reasons You Should Visit Georgia
7 Reasons You Should Visit Georgia
What have you heard about Georgia, a country at the intersection of Asia and Europe? Wondering what to expect? Read on and get the details from guest blogger, Natalie Young.

7 Reasons You Should Never Visit Georgia (the Country)

Text by Natalie Young of Smart Lemur

Edited by Joan Mead-Matsui, Publisher 

What have you heard about Georgia, a country at the intersection of Asia and Europe? We went there, and have some advice for you – the culture, landscapes, food, wine, the people – it all might be a little too overwhelming. So you should think carefully before going. To help you, we have 7 reasons why you should never visit Georgia.

Anyone who wants too much of a good thing Read on…

  1. Its cuisine will make you feel bad… 

… about overeating so much. Traditional dishes such as khinkali, khachapuri or pschali are made from locally sourced ingredients and usually cooked in wood-fired ovens. You will soon notice that Georgians enjoy long feast-like dinners and are happy to share them with visitors of their country.

  1. The landscapes are a bit too much 

Georgian landscapes may cause you problems when you will be telling your friends back home of what you’ve seen during the trip. In an area smaller than 70 thousand square km, you will see terrains of all kinds: snowy mountains, sandy beaches, desert-like flatlands, rocky hills and lush forests.

  1. Georgians won’t let you relax… 

..or get lost. Due to the long history of wars, the Georgian nation is known for its hot temper, yet this goes together with extreme hospitality. Once you enter Georgia, you will feel as if you’re visiting your old friends – Georgians will greet you, make you feel at home and will bathe you in recommendations. You do not need to worry about getting lost in the country either- and even if you do end up lost on your road trip, you will eventually find yourself having dinner with Georgian families in the countryside. Of course, if you prefer to get stressed during your vacation and don’t want to make new friends, you should not go to Georgia.

  1. The weather 

If you’re planning to make a trip around Georgia, you will have to prepare for surprises. In one trip you can visit the Red Sea coast and spend the whole day sunbathing, and on the next day climb the snowy peak of Kazbek, later returning to sunny Tbilisi or heading for a refreshing stay in Borjomi. On the other hand, if you are a fan of dull, rainy afternoons, Georgia might not be the place for you.

  1. Wine 

Sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find French wine in Georgia. That’s because Georgians take pride in their vineries that are some of the oldest in the world. Georgian winemaking traditions that date back to Neolithic period are internationally recognized and appreciated: Georgian winemaking method using clay pots is even included in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

  1. Urban culture 

You are probably visiting Georgia for its amazing nature, right? If you are not into the art scene and are not a fan of discovering peculiar cultural things, don’t go to Tbilisi. Yet, we believe it’s almost impossible to skip the country’s capital with a population over 1 million of people and a forward-looking scene of arts and culture. Visit Bassiani club, Fabrika or Tbilisi flea market, and you will soon notice that the city is much more than the beautiful architecture and fancy restaurants.

  1. Georgia is unpredictable 

Things you don’t expect to see while visiting Georgia: waterfall in the middle of Tbilisi old town, the remains of Soviet military bases, a funicular in the inner yard of a building on one of the main streets of the capital, a monastery on a tall rock (The Katskhi Pillar monastery in Chiatura), moving statues (on the boulevard in Batumi)… yet, you’re most likely to see most of these and even more.

For more advice about Georgia, please visit Smart Lemur site.


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