Lonely Planet Announces Best Places in the US to Visit This Year

Lonely Planet has released its annual list of the top 10 Best Places To Travel in the United States in 2016. Over the past four decades, Lonely Planet has cultivated a dedicated traveler community and printed more than 130 million books in 13 different languages to most destinations on the planet. The Lonely Planet ecosystem also includes digital and mobile apps like the all-new Guides app, a comprehensive ebook portfolio, 12 international magazines including a US edition launched in 2015, an award-winning website and over 8.5 million followers on social media.lgo

Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016 list is a diverse mix of cities, regions and states across the country that are poised to shine in the year ahead – places often-overlooked, hidden gems and household names with new reasons to visit in 2016. This year, national treasurePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania was named number one, followed by the picturesque town of Natchez, Mississippi and the iconic Yellowstone National Park in third place.

Now in its 6th year, Lonely Planet’s Best in the US is a handpicked list selected and ranked by the US-based editors and travel writers at Lonely Planet to point to the 10 most exciting, intriguing and upand-coming top US destinations worth visiting in the year ahead.

These are the places to pay attention to in 2016,” said US Destination Editor Rebecca Warren at Lonely Planet. “Whether they’ve been on the public radar for years or are only recently emerging as travel hotspots, each destination offers compelling reasons to visit this year.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – “Hands up to the sky, Rocky fans.”

Recently recognized as the US’s first and only World Heritage City and visited by the Pope, Philly’s on a roll right now. Hosting the Democratic National Convention in July and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Rocky this year, the city is experiencing a transformation to its urban core, yet retaining its deep American history and uniquely gritty flavor.

2. Natchez, Mississippi – “Natchez will be rolling on the river in 2016.”

Longwood, the historic antebellum octagonal mansion Natchez, Mississippi © Helmut-Krass- 500px

Longwood, the historic antebellum octagonal mansion Natchez, Mississippi © Helmut-Krass/500px

Hitting its 300th anniversary this year – making it two years older than New Orleans – this charming city settled along the Mississippi will be hosting hundreds of events throughout the year, from their annual hot air balloon races to historical celebrations.

3. Yellowstone National Park – “Where better to celebrate than where it all began?”

Lower Falls from above in Yellowstone National Park © Brian Milner - 500px

Lower Falls from above in Yellowstone National Park © Brian Milner/500px

This is the world’s first national park, established 144 years ago. Yellowstone’s biggest draw, the Old Faithful geyser, just got a new boardwalk and gateway towns like Gardiner, Montana and Cody, Wyoming are all geared up to accommodate the millions of visitors expected while the US National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year.

4. Birmingham, Alabama – “Could Birmingham be the coolest city in the South?”

An old mill in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham Alabama © Robbie Brewer - 500px

An old mill in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham Alabama © Robbie Brewer/500px

The once industrial Avondale neighborhood has been reinvigorated with a surge of pubs, breweries and good eats, and the Civil Rights District is notable for the Civil Rights Institute, the 16th St. Baptist Church and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

5. Alaska – “Hey Americans: have you crossed the Arctic Circle in your own country?”

Denali (formerly known as McKinley) is the highest peak on the North American continent © Phillip Kuntz - 500px

Denali (formerly known as McKinley) is the highest peak on the North American continent © Phillip Kuntz/500px

Last year, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit this remote state and it’s time the rest of Americans follow, especially to experience the newly renamed Denali, America’s tallest peak, which can be done on foot for the adventurous, or by train or bus. Continue reading

Film Legend, Sophia Loren Now Touring, Live, Onstage in “An Evening With Sophia Loren”

For the first time ever, movie icon and Academy-Award winning Actress Sophia Loren will star in an 11 city US tour, onstage and in person, in AN EVENING WITH SOPHIA LOREN. Miss Loren has graciously accepted this opportunity for the public to celebrate her illustrious and Oscar winning career and have the chance to meet her in person. A celebrity interviewer will accompany Ms Loren and uncover her amazing movie triumphs as well as her fabulous personal story. And the audience will have a chance to ask Ms Loren questions that are all about Sophia. Limited VIP Meet and Greet ticket packages are available for the public to personally greet Ms Loren.sophia-loren_1920x595

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend an unforgettable evening with a true Icon of the Silver Screen, the beautiful and unforgettable Sophia Loren.

The entire tour is produced by The Stander Group Inc., Los Angeles, CA.

Tour venues include:

Thu Mar 10 – Borgata Hotel and Casino Spa, Atlantic City, NJ – 7:30pm

Sun Mar 13 – Proctors Mainstage Theatre, Schenectady, NY – 3:00pm

Thu Mar 17 – Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ – 7:30pm

Fri Mar 18 – Foxwoods Resort Casino – Mashantucket, CT – 8:00pm

Sun Mar 20 – AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas, TX – 7:30pm

Tue Mar 22 – Palladium – Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel, IN – 7:30pm

Thu Mar 24 – Copernicus Center, Chicago, IL – 7:30pm

Sat Mar 26 – Venetian Theatre at the Resort, Las Vegas, NV – 8:00pm

Mon Mar 28 – Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, FL – 8:00pm

Thu Mar 31 – Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, Sarasota, FL – 8:00pm

Fri Apr 1 – Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL – 8:00pm

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit each respective venue’s website.

House of Matriarch Launches High Perfumery at Nordstrom

Top Indie Fragrance House to Be Available in Select Doors

The House of Matriarch announces the launch of their High Perfumery collection at select Nordstrom department stores just in time for Valentine’s Day. The brand has launched four new perfumes in celebration of their Nordstrom partnership: Albatross, Trillium, Orca and Madrona. Known as “shared” fragrances, these perfumes are unisex and the natural essences impart enigmatic and sensual undertones perfect for the biggest date night of the year.

House of Matriarch - available at Nordstrom

House of Matriarch Collection available at Nordstrom and http://www.matriarch.biz. (PRNewsFoto/House of Matriarch)

House of Matriarch is the most refreshing and magical brand I have worked with throughout my career,” said Tim Girvin, Brand Strategist for House of Matriarch. “We are thrilled the collection is available to a wider audience, now that we’re at Nordstrom.

Founded in 2009, House of Matriarch draws inspiration from the “enchanted forest” of the Pacific Northwest, basing its brand heritage on the rich history of storytelling and enchantment. The brand’s fragrances are in a category all their own — High Perfumery — and incorporate the highest proportion of natural materials than any other luxury brand in distribution. This creative fragrance house prides itself on highlighting the mystical associations of rare ingredients used to formulate their fragrances, speaking the language of luxury and powerfully rendering and recalling the craft of the apothecary.

House of Matriarch is proud to be a part of the natural fragrance movement,” says CEO and Resident “Nose” Christi Meshell. “I created this brand to help reconnect people to nature, to help them find pleasure and enjoyment, even magic. We are thrilled to have our fragrance at Nordstrom, giving us the chance to share the magic with more and more people every day.

Meshell’s visionary versatility, as both CEO and Creatrix, allows her to develop a concept from initial inspiration through final display. As a highly coveted Indie beauty brand that was named the Top Indie Fragrance House of 2013 by Cafleurebon and is a current finalist for CEW‘s Indie Brand Beauty Award, House of Matriarch creates fragrances that are marvelously detailed by blending thousand-year-old practices with modernist appraisal while allowing each fragrance to be layered with other scents in the collection. Nordstrom currently offers nine fragrances, encompassing four new and five top selling scents: Orca, Trillium, Albatross, Madrona, Forbidden, Black No. 1, Devotion, Coco Blanc and Sex Magic. Within this collection, Coco Blanc, Forbidden and Orca are the three perfumes that are 100% natural.

Retail price: $39.00, 0.17 oz.; $330.00, 1.7 oz. Available at select Nordstrom stores, www.Nordstrom.com and the House of Matriarch website.

LifeStyles® Condoms Undergoes Major Rebrand and Unveils New Products

Rebrand Includes Packaging Updates and Website Re-Design for LifeStyles and SKYN® Condoms

Ansell, a global leader in protection solutions and the makers of LifeStyles® and SKYN® Condoms (“SKYN”), announced today a major design overhaul, including packaging updates and website redesign for both brands.

LifeStyles Condoms

LifeStyles(R) Condoms Unveils New Products and Packaging (PRNewsFoto/LifeStyles Condoms)

The iconic LifeStyles brand condoms have been updated with vibrant designs and colors reflective of the product attributes within. Each new box displays unique graphics with product details overlaid to outline the specific benefits of each variety in an easy-to-read format. This redesign was initiated to build excitement surrounding safe sex, highlight pleasure enhancing product attributes, and appeal to the brand’s key millennial demographic with a bold new look.

In addition to the core LifeStyles-brand products, the first-ever polyisoprene, non-latex SKYN brand of condoms by LifeStyles will also debut an updated design for its product range. Widely known as “the closest thing to wearing nothing,” SKYN packaging has been re-invigorated to further showcase the key attributes and new messaging for SKYN, enabling users to “Feel Everything(TM).” The SKYN logo has been updated with a circular design reminiscent of the look of an unfurled condom. This design, which is color coded for each SKYN variety, will help facilitate instant identification of the brand, both in communication materials and on store shelves, helping users easily identify varieties in the SKYN range, ultimately making the selection of the most suitable product for each consumer quicker and easier.

In conjunction with the overall rebrand, LifeStyles has also completed an update to their current online presence with a brand new website hosted at www.LifeStyles.com. To complement the new packaging design, the website reflects a sleek and modern look. It has been reinvigorated with a strong focus on custom content including infographics, videos, articles, sex tips, tricks, and more. In addition to a fresh visual appeal, the new website delivers on a core consumer need by providing relevant, useful, down-to-earth content about sex and relationships that they are seeking.

As part of this redesign, LifeStyles is also introducing seven products to the core LifeStyles latex condom collection. These introductions include updated designs and re-brands for Ultra THYN(TM), KYNG(TM), Everlast Intense and Turbo, with brand new products including BareBack(TM), Ultra Studded, Ultra Ribbed and the Ultra Trial Pack, which comes in three sizes. Continue reading

First Bottling of Michter’s 10 Year Rye Since 2014 Set For Release

Michter’s Master Distiller Willie Pratt has approved the release of Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Rye for sale this March. The last bottling of this coveted Kentucky Straight Rye took place in 2014.

Nicknamed “Dr. No” by the Michter’s sales force due to his frequent refusal to release whiskeys before he believes they have sufficiently matured, Mr. Pratt did not bottle any of his older rye stocks in 2015 despite the fact that they were already over 10 years old. A stickler for quality, Pratt says, “I wasn’t very popular with the sales guys who had none to sell, but I held the 10 Year Rye stocks back for a bit more maturation. I thought they would be just great with some more age, and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.” The suggested U.S. retail price per 750ml bottle of Michter’s 10 Year Rye is $150.

Michter's Distillery 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye

Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye (PRNewsFoto/Michter’s Distillery)

Michter’s Distillery is located in the Shively section of Louisville, Kentucky, the heart of the American whiskey industry. It makes highly acclaimed, limited production whiskeys that have been subject to allocation because demand has exceeded supply. Michter’s is renowned for its single barrel rye, small batch bourbon, single barrel bourbon, and small batch American whiskey. In 2015, Michter’s was named the seventh Heritage Member of the Kentucky Distillers Association, thereby becoming the first distiller in 33 years to achieve that status. For more information, please go to www.michters.com.

Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, A Classically Modern Steakhouse Experience, Makes Its Debut in Las Vegas

At a Glance:

  • Alder & Birch now open at The Orleans Hotel and Casino
  • Open Daily for Social Hour 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Dinner starts at 5 p.m.
  • 21-Day dry-aged Prime beef and more on the menu: www.AlderandBirchLV.com

Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining – a classically modern take on the American steakhouse – has made its debut at Las Vegas’ The Orleans Hotel & Casino. Alder & Birch is the first of five new dining concepts scheduled to debut at The Orleans in 2016, as part of Boyd Gaming’s ongoing, $30 million enhancement of the popular Las Vegas resort.

With Alder & Birch, we are refreshing and enhancing the foodie culture that is such an important part of the Boyd Gaming guest experience,” said Mark LaVoie, Vice President of Food and Beverage for Boyd Gaming. “Complementing the carefully crafted menu and beautiful design is a truly talented team, dedicated to providing the exceptional and memorable level of service our customers expect from us. We are excited and proud to introduce Alder & Birch – a distinctive dining concept that further enhances The Orleans’ unique brand of hospitality.

The Entrance at Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, Las Vegas

The Entrance at Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, Las Vegas

Evoking a stately grove of its namesake trees, the restaurant entrance and wrap-around façade are composed of a series of rich, wood-paneled vertical fins. Visually anchoring the cocktail lounge and main dining room is a magnificent, stone-clad, two-sided fireplace.

The front of Alder & Birch evokes a socially minded lounge setting. Along the bar wall hangs a curated collection of framed, antique cookbooks, some dating back more than 80 years. Polished wooden shutters are juxtaposed with more casual, blackened industrial sash window panels, further adding to the rich visual textures of the interior. The side walls of the main dining room are lined with semi-private, glass-screened booths, each featuring its own chandelier. Two private dining rooms are also available to host larger parties.

The Lounge at Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, Las Vegas

The Lounge at Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, Las Vegas

Linger before your meal in the welcoming lounge, and whet your appetite with a selection of specially-designed, hand-crafted signature cocktails, including the Winter Sangria, a divine mix of Santa Christina Chianti and hand-crafted cherry sherry, accented by sour apple and lemon; or the Alder and Birch Maple Manhattan, a perfect blend of Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon, maple syrup, sweet vermouth and bitters, playfully garnished with a candied bacon strip. Enjoy a selection of craft beers on tap, or choose from a carefully-chosen selection of more than 100 fine wines from around the globe.

Surf and Turf   $58

Surf and Turf $58

Featuring quality ingredients carefully crafted into refined and classic steakhouse fare, the menu boasts a rich selection of distinctive dishes:

  • Begin with a Social Hour-friendly appetizer like Kobe beef meatballs, or chilled wild Baja prawns;
  • For the first course, try the watermelon salad topped with goat cheese, or the savory three-onion soup, featuring a hint of all-natural apple cider and an abundance of cave-aged Mifroma Gruyere cheese.

    Oven–Roasted Sea Bass   $35 Lemon Spinach Purée

    Oven–Roasted Sea Bass $35 Lemon Spinach Purée

  • For a robust second course, try the double-cut Kurobuta pork chop — widely considered to be the highest-quality pork in the world – pan-seared with a touch of sea salt and herbs, and presented with caramelized Granny Smith apples, deglazed with a touch of all-natural apple cider.
  • For a truly classic steakhouse experience, indulge yourself with a select cut of 21-day dry-aged Prime beef, including the house signature Wagyu coulette sirloin – a cut prized for its exceptional flavor and tenderness.

    Banana Rum Cake (topped with Hard Birch Rum sauce)

    Banana Rum Cake (topped with Hard Birch Rum sauce)

  • And of course, no ABCD meal would be complete without dessert, including the decadent banana rum cake (topped with Hard Birch Rum sauce) and our signature crème brulee, accompanied by house-made raspberry champagne sorbet.

Make a reservation and read the full menu at www.AlderandBirchLV.com

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming Corporation is a leading diversified owner and operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey. Alder & Birch follows the debuts of other new concepts at Boyd Gaming properties across the Las Vegas Valley, including the California Noodle House at California Hotel and Casino; The Filament Bar at Fremont Hotel and Casino; and Brigg’s Oyster Co. at Suncoast Hotel and Casino. New concepts set to debut in the coming weeks include Ondori Asian Kitchen at The Orleans, and Rosewater Grill and Tavern at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel in Vinton, La. For more information on this and other Boyd Gaming launches nationwide, visit www.BoydGaming.com/Amenities.

Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at www.boydgaming.com.

PIPER-HEIDSIECK Unveils “Red Carpet Ready” Limited Edition Bottle Exclusively For The 88th Annual Oscars®

The French Champagne House Celebrates the Excellence of the Academy Awards® With a Grand & Bold Magnum Bottle

PIPER-HEIDSIECK, the revered French Champagne house known worldwide for the red of its label and the gold of its wine, unveiled the “Red Carpet Ready” limited edition magnum bottlePIPER-HEIDSIECK Cuvee Brut magnum that will be poured exclusively at this year’s 88th Oscars® ceremony and Governors Ball, the Academy’s official post-Oscars celebration.

Created in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck who aimed to create a wine worthy of a Queen, PIPER-HEIDSIECK is one of France’s oldest Champagne houses. With a grand history, the House has been synonymous with excellence, boldness, and grandeur for over 230 years. One of the world’s most awarded Champagnes, PIPER-HEIDSIECK benefits from the expertise of celebrated winemaker, Régis Camus, who has been named “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year” eight times over the past ten years.

From the early 1930s, the house has long supported the grand cinema with boldness and grandeur. In 1964, PIPER-HEIDSIECK created a tailor-made 48-liter bottle to celebrate Rex Harrison’s Oscar for his role in My Fair Lady. In order to support the enrichment and preservation of film heritage, PIPER-HEIDSIECK works with the French Cinémathèque and the American Cinémathèque. It has also been the official champagne of the International Cannes Film Festival for more than 20 years.

PIPER-HEIDSIECK Limited Edition Bottle

PIPER-HEIDSIECK Unveils “Red Carpet Ready” Limited Edition Bottle Exclusively For The 88th Annual Oscars(R) (PRNewsFoto/PIPER-HEIDSIECK)

With only 1000 bottles produced, the special limited edition magnum was unveiled during the Oscars Nominee Luncheon in order to give nominees a ‘sneak peek’ of what they will be drinking on February 28th. An exceptional bottle for an exceptional night, the PIPER-HEIDSIECK Cuvee Brut magnum was designed by the 230 year-old French House specifically for the occasion with the word “Oscars” and the number “88” forming a golden “tiara” wrapped by hand around each bottle. PIPER-HEIDSIECK believes that nothing less than a magnum is worthy of the grandeur of Oscars night. Continue reading