Thursday, March 31, 2011

The best cruise ships on which to get married

    The luxury Lifestyle blog (the home of luxury Lifestyle) presents The best cruise ships on which to get married.

    If you’re planning a wedding on the high seas, some options are better than others, according to one cruise specialist.

    Miami-based cruise company Landry & Kling released its top ten ships for group events and business meetings this week, naming vessels from a variety of lines for the suitability of hosting a special event.

    The travel agency, which specializes in organizing large events at sea ranging from business meetings to theme cruises and reunions, picked ships with between 56 and 2,700 cabins, including the enormous Allure of the Seas.

    Many were chosen for the excellent range of on-board activities — Sea Dream II’s water sports marina platform, for instance, or fact-finding tours on board National Geographic Endeavor — although all offer superior service, state-of-the-art function space and private group dining, says Landry & Kling.

    Cruise lines are used to planning weddings, and many employ specific members of staff to assist with the details of such events, with larger vessels also offering chapels on board and services such as cake, flowers and music.

    However, the list of ships who have captains that can officiate ceremonies (a popular request) is more limited as there are considerable legal restrictions.

    According to popular cruise website CruiseCritic, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Princess Cruises are among those with captains available to marry passengers.

    Top ten ships for events and meetings

    - SeaDream II (SeaDream Yacht Club)
    - Liberty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
    - Celebrity Millennium (Celebrity Cruises)
    - Silver Spirit (Silversea Cruises)
    - Pride of America (Norwegian Cruise Line)
    - Seven Seas Navigator (Regent Seven Seas)
    - MSC Splendida (MSC Cruises)
    - Allure of the Seas (Royal Caribbean International)
    - Carnival Dream (Carnival Cruise Lines)
    - National Geographic Endeavor (Lindblad Expeditions)

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Porsche Panamera Turbo S revealed

    The luxury Lifestyle blog (the home of luxury Lifestyle) presents Porsche Panamera Turbo S revealed.

    Porsche has released details on its new high-power Panamera sedan, set to go on sale this summer.

    The new Panamera Turbo S provides a power boost to the Panamera Turbo’s engines, delivering 37 kW more with increased torque from the 4.8 liter, V8 engine, which has been treated to improved turbochargers and modified engine control.

    Using the Launch Control feature, it can manage 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 306 km/h, despite a fuel consumption similar to that of the Panamera Turbo — 11.3 l/100km using Michelin tires.

    Other features added include Dynamic Chassis Control to stabilize the vehicle and Torque Vectoring Plus, which applies a variable torque split to the rear wheel to improve traction and agility in variable driving situations.

    It is priced at $173,200 in the US and €167,076 in Germany. The model is set to be on show at the New York International Auto Show this April.

    Source: AFPrelaxnews

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World’s largest Rolls-Royce showroom unveiled

Audemars Piguet Millenary Tour Auto 2011

    The luxury Lifestyle blog (the home of luxury Lifestyle) presents Audemars Piguet Millenary Tour Auto 2011.

    Serving as Official Timekeeper of the Tour Auto for the sixth year running, Audemars Piguet is launching a limited edition watch to commemorate the event.

    With its distinctly retro touch, the 2011 Audemars Piguet Millenary Tour Auto Chronograph masterfully captures the vintage spirit of the Tour Auto race.

    The new watch is available with a 47 mm case, fashioned from steel. Its back side is embossed with the Tour Auto logo.

    Housed in the case is a black dial, with its circular-grained surfaces reminding of the finish on certain historical cars.

    It is circled by a flange with a tachometric scale. The display features a three-hand layout. Moreover, it is equipped with silver-toned hour, minute and seconds counters. The date indication is arranged between 4 and 5 o’clock.

    The functions, provided by the new Audemars Piguet Millenary Tour Auto 2011 watch, are driven by an in-house manufactured automatic AP caliber 2385 movement.

    It operates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers a 40-hour power reserve.

    The new Audemars Piguet watch is accompanied by a hand-sewn black leather strap with a lozenge-pattern stitching.

    The model is issued in a limited edition of 150 pieces and is delivered in a presentation box.

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Duck Season, Rabbit Season

    Have you ever felt shot?

    I mean, have you ever taken a shotgun blast to your lower right spine, right at the belt-line, directly under the love handle. It comes out of nowhere. You just wake up and you can't move a muscle. You try to rise and it hits you like a stab wound. You're fucked and you know it. It's like watching your arm fall off and saying, "Oh shit, that's gone."

    Oh shit, my back is gone. I threw it out. No doubt walking all over god's green Earth in the rain for hours looking for that fucking Dentist. I must have strained my back because even though it's weak, its stronger than my stomach muscles. Like everyone keeps telling me, my core muscles are out of shape. Really, I've built a considerable gut that needs to be shaved down. That's the problem. I'm too front heavy and it's making my back muscles strain harder to keep me standing erect.

    I should be walking all bent over forward, dragged down by my increasing belt size. Still I fight against gravity and I'll win. I know I will, as soon as the weather changes. I want to do my walks again. It cleared my mind. It gave me an extreme clarity that I could use to make decisions from a distance. Damn near made me clairvoyant. I need my long walks also, to look at the New York women go by. Ha ha. I'm not joking. It's the best spectators sport ever known to man.

    So getting in shape is indeed very much on the horizon. I will at that, and there is no one that can change that fact. I want to do well with myself this year. There's something about 2011 that has the feel of death to it. Maybe it's because my father is gravely ill, which hangs over my head daily, but I think I wear it's mantle pretty well. Many people would be all depressed and slowed down. Morbid and grim all the time, but I think I'm learning a good lesson from my father, which I can only describe as a stiff upper lip.

    I spent some days with him and he only talked about his death once. For five minutes. The rest of our conversations revolved around the trivial. And still, all around us were reminders that he was going to die. Friends coming over to wish him well and to ask how he's doing ("Hell, I'm dying," he would laugh at them). A visiting nurse service dropping by with medications and wanting to monitor his vitals. Paperwork out the ying-yang from his military records, to birth certificates and the so forth to hand to the appropriate people. And through it all, he dealt with it as if dealing with selling a car.

    Shit, I would be terrified. I hate the thought of a slow death, and this is slow. I never wanted to go slowly. My father is hoping that the final stroke will happen when he falls asleep. He hopes he'll just close his eyes one evening and slip away. I don't think so. He has the luck of my life. Or maybe I have the luck of his life. The short end of the stick at all times. If there is a fifty-fifty chance for me, trust me, I'll draw the short end every time. Knowing this, what I do when I have a fifty-fifty chance is pick, then stop and pick the other. This way I duck my first inclination that will be the short end. But that doesn't work either. It's like life switches it around at the last minute to catch me anyway.

    In any event, I'm hoping my father gets the end he hopes for, but if it was me, I would prepare myself for the worst. That's another reason why I want to be there before he goes to hold his hand and give him moral support. It's times like that that you want someone there that loves you, and I do love my old man.

    But all of this has nothing to do with my back. My back, which is once again in the way of my life, adding to my further suffering, as I had said before.  Life loves to see me in pain, because I have been the spawn of the Devil and I'm doomed to Hell. Whatever. However I offended mother nature, I'm having my ass handed to me, largely because I stop fighting constantly and take breaks that are way too long and too deep to be appreciated or tolerated.

    So, like I said, there is something about 2011 that makes me want to get up and kick some ass, and I'm just watching the days click by. Soon, very soon, the bell will ring and the gates will open and I'll burst out, hauling ass down the track. I'm ready.

    Shit, my winter vacation is over. It's time to get back on the stick.


    HobobobSource URL:
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Coming Attractions for April

    Posted By Kate

    It's April Fool's Day in the Lair! But we're not fooling around! We've got an absolutely fabulous line-up for you this month and you won't want to miss out on one single moment of fun, prizes and general raucous behavior! Here are some of the highlights:

    On April 2, Lair favourite, the fabulous Kate Walker, returns for another fun-filled visit to celebrate the release of her latest book, The Proud Wife, and to share some really great news about one of her 2010 releases.

    On April 3, Diana Orgain visits us for the first time to chat about the latest book in her Maternal Instincts mystery series, Formula for Murder. As a busy mother of three, she's got some great tips for aspiring writers who can't find the time to write.

    April 4 finds Kay Thomas back in the Lair, along with her newest Bulletproof book, Bulletproof Hearts, from Harlequin Intrigue.

    On April 6th, Jules Bennett will return to the lair to talk about her April Harlequin Desire release, Her Innocence, His Conquest.

    And on April 7, Cheryl Ann Smith talks to Donna about her journey to publication and shares an excerpt from her debut historical, School for Brides. RT Bookreviews says Smith “makes a dazzling entrance to the romance community with a charming, sexy, innovative tale that sparks the imagination.”

    Don't miss the fun on April 8! Joan hosts the wonderful Kristan Higgins AND the hero and heroine of her new Harlequin release My One and Only as they play 20 questions.

    On April 12, Jeanne interviews Maureen Batita from the popular blog, Romance Writers Revenge. She'll discuss her ebook, The Kraken's Mirror. Yo ho, yo ho!

    And on April 19, Dianna Love will join us in the lair to talk about keeping dreams alive, and why she's sponsoring a national art contest based on the book, Blood Trinity.

    On April 21, Patricia Rice returns to chat with Nancy about her first direct-to-electronic release, Evil Genius.

    On April 25, our favorite witch, Jennifer Lyon, visits to talk about her two new books in the electrifying Wing Slayer Hunter series, Night Magic and Sinful Magic.

    Kathleen O'Reilly returns to the Lair on April 26 to chat with Bandita Nancy about her new Blaze, Just Surrender.

    There will be a night of scandal and mayhem in the lair when the paparazzi crash the ball celebrating the launch of Midnight's Wild Passion, Anna Campbell’s latest historical romance from Avon. Mark your calendars for hijinks and giveaways on Wednesday, 27th April! You can read the blurb and an excerpt here:

    And Anna's holding a Midnight Madness contest on her website to celebrate the release of her latest historical romance MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION on Tuesday, 26th April. All you have to do is read the excerpt from MWP on her Books page and tell her what color Ranelaw’s hair is. Email your answer to The contest closes 30th April 2011. For more details, please visit

    One more April happening: The RT Book Lovers Convention comes to Los Angeles April 6-10. Are you going? What are you wearing? Tell us everything! And even if you're not going, we can pretend. What fabulous fantasy costume would you wear to the Fairy Ball? Source URL:
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Thursday giveaway!

Affordable Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat Tickets

    Hey Minnesota Timberwolves fans! As you may know, basketball season is sadly coming to an end in just two short weeks. Tomorrow night at 7pm, the Minnesota Timberwolves will host the Miami Heat at the Target Center in Minneapolis. This will be the third to last home game of the season for the Wolves, just ahead of the Phoenix Suns on Wed. April 6th and the final game against the Houston Rockets the following Wed. April 13th. If you would like to show your support for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the last few games of their 2010-2011 season, check out our supply of Minnesota Timberwolves tickets and order yours now! We have a very nice variety of seat locations for each game, with prices starting as low as $25 each for the Miami game; $9 for the Phoenix game or $4 for the Houston game. Get yours today! 
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A Message From Clyde Barker

Embroidered book covers

Diminished Capacity

    This film was directed by Terry Kinney, who you might, or, more likely, might not remember as one John Cameron, and who you might also know as a co-founder of the noted Steppenwolf Theater here in Chicago, Illinois. The latter is key, and it is key because "Diminished Capacity" (2008) is soooooooo Chicago. First of all, it stars Matthew Broderick, the guy who long ago starred in a movie as a character who Time Magazine recently said is the one film character most deserving of a statue here in the Windy City. It features a Mr. Cub (i.e. Ernie Banks) cameo. It features stock footage of Buckingham Fountain (real original). It knows of the long simmering feud between St. Louisans and Chicagoans. Its most crucial plot point involves a rare baseball card featuring the likeness of Frank Schulte, a right fielder for the Cubs in 1908. ("From now on I'm rooting for the 1908 Cubs. At least I know they can win.")

    Broderick is Cooper Kennedy, a cartoon editor in Chi-town, and recent victim of a Grade 3 Concussion, getting better but not fully recovered, who one day gets a call from his mom (Lois Smith) down Missouri way who explains his Uncle Rollie (Alan Alda), in the midst of tying fishing line to his typewriter set at the end of a dock so the fish in the lake can, ahem, type poetry for him, might be in the need of a permanent stay at a mental health facility. So Cooper drives in to see what's up. Rollie, it seems, is also suffering from memory loss and suffering from unpaid bills but has an ace in the hole - that aforementioned Schulte baseball card, mint condition, that may be the last of its kind. Fetch the right price and all his material ills are cured.

    Of course, there's also the town drunk who's aiming to steal that very baseball card and there's the sister of the town drunk, Charlotte (Virginia Madsen), who has divorced her husband and once, long ago, was Cooper's flame and who happens to be in the town grocery store at the same time Cooper turns up there and explains she will soon be trekking northward to Chicago where she hopes to sell a painting of hers to a restaurant.

    So....Cooper, Rollie, Charlotte, and Charlotte's son all light out for The City Of Big Shoulders and a baseball card convention where Mad Dog McClure (Dylan Baker, so perfectly cast because he is so not a Mad Dog) and Lee Vivyan (Bobby Cannavale), dueling baseball card luminaries, the former kind and generous, the latter cold as Lake Michigan in late January, will both maneuver to purchase this all-important card.

    Curiously, though, for being so Chicago, a city that doesn't do anything half-assed, a city that picked itself up after a Great Fire, a city that was burning Jay Cutler's jersey before the recent NFC Championship Game even ended, "Diminished Capacity" is so lightweight. It starts as, sort of, a dramedy and then morphs into, maybe, a grown up "Garden State" and then the third act is....well, God only knows. It's sweet and sad and slap-sticky and convenient and even for just a brief minute or two digresses into Heist territory and the way it kind of summarizes everything in a blip, without feeling like the resolutions have been truly earned - like Cooper's Grade 3 Concussion - is extremely sitcom-y. Yuck.

    Consider this world of the baseball card convention. It is not often glimpsed in the cinema. It could have been different, maybe even unusually exhilarating. Occassionally, it is, such as in the moment when Mad Dog McClure, an epic Cubs fan, has an epic Cubs Fan Breakdown over a blown game and his wife - clearly having been through this dozens of times before - treats him so gently in its aftermath. This is quality stuff. But then consider Lee Vivyan's diatribe on Joe DiMaggio's shoelaces and their eventual payoff. That's it? Is this supposed to be wacky or quirky? The screenplay doesn't know and never figures it out.

    None of the actors are sleepwalking, all seem willing to do their best, but what can you do when you aren't given much? How about poor Virginia Madsen who ever since being nominated for an Oscar for "Sideways" (2004) has fallen victim to a syndrome I have officially named after her - Virginia Madsen Syndrome - wherein the only parts she gets are those of The Supportive Spouse? Granted, she's not a spouse here but she is, essentially, The Supportive Significant Other. Even after we learn she has sold her painting to that Chicago restaurant the movie doesn't let her or us be happy about it. Instead it just hurries instantly right back to Cooper and Rollie's problems. C'mon, man, the woman who gave the transcendent Why I Like Wine monologue in "Sideways" deserves better.

    The movie is diverting but forgettable. It's a game being watched from the Wrigley Field Bleachers on Friday Afternoon. Friends. Sun. Old Style. What's the score again?Source URL:
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini Cooper

The Shrill Cry of the Banshee


    Paula screams outside my door. I yawn. This is probably the seventh time this month that she has been assaulted in her room by the same man that she has a restraining order on. Somehow he constantly ends up in her room, day in and day out. And then one day, out of the blue, she is screaming out the above again in the corridor.

    Strike that! Not ONE DAY, but late in the fucking night! I'm talking about 3:00AM! This bitch has the nerve to stick her water-head out of her door and scream. Honestly gang, I want to go over there with a baseball bat...and HELP HIM! If this man is such a fucking recidivist, what's the point of bringing him into your house time and time again? Are you a glutton for punishment? I guess you are because he still is beating your dumb ass!

    It never fails with her. Time and again. I wouldn't mind if he hospitalizes her, but all he does is slap her in the face after she slaps him. Or threatens him to do something dumb, like slap an apple off of her shoulder. Trust me people, it hasn't turned into a violent act as of yet. It's that dumb, childish, I'm-crazy-in-love-shit that this is about. They slap each other around and argue and the next day they can't live without one another and making babies with all of those stupid assed Skek names, like Rolandshaka, and shalinda, and Lexus. I love Lexus. They're naming their kids now after cars that they use their dampened socks to wipe their windshields with to get a buck.

    Oh yeah, don't put it past Paula to go out side with a squeegee and her underpants and dab them in a curbside puddle. Then come to your car and wipe down your windshield and scrape off the filth. Then roam to the driver's side of the car with their hand out. When they used to come to my car with that shit, I used to turn on the wipers. And being homeless, I never did that shit.

    Yeah, like I said, I wouldn't mind if she had her ass whipped. Then she wouldn't invite this dumb fuck into her home every fucking day, and then when he gets out of hand, comes and stands in FRONT OF MY DOOR at 3:00 in the morning shouting for someone to call the police. Why doesn't she call them? She has a cell phone. Or simply leave your house and go downstairs and tell the security guards on the first floor to call the cops and stay in their office until they get there.

    No, this bitch yells and then goes back into her room and argues with the fucker. Two minutes later he storms out of the room. Five minutes and the cops arrive asking her what is happening and she says that the guy has already left. This scenario plays out over and over again, time and again, to the point that it's a joke. Like the boy who cried wolf. After awhile you pray that the wolf does appear and the boy is eaten.

    This is also to annoy if not to incite me to action. Which it does not. But honestly, I couldn't care less if I heard her body pummeled to death against my door. I still wouldn't move from one ass cheek to another. Fuck that. She steps outside, screams, wakes me the fuck up, and my normally two hours sleep is curtailed to one. Now I'm tired all day long. All day. That shit is painful. Now I have to try to sleep during the day, where it's lawful for everyone to make as much noise as they wish.

    Try to sleep during the day and you know what I'm talking about. Even your kids make fucking noise that they don't at 3:00AM. So what are you going to do now Hobo? Start boiling a pot of water when I hear him knocking on her door and she lets him in. When she hops out to scream for someone to call for the police....well actually to do nothing more than to wake me from slumber, I'll jump up, grab that pot of scalding water and throw it at her face. And as she screams bloody murder, then I'll call the cops and blame her boyfriend.

    This will work because they no doubt have a rap sheet in the precinct by now of domestic sort-of violence an arm and a leg long. The police will say that it was only a matter of time until it became physical to the point of abuse and no longer love taps.

    Problem solved. I told you I have the answers to everything that ails you.

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