Eat Well, Make Love

Eat Well, Make Love...

For Tiberio Simone and Matt Freedman, two of the most beautiful things in the world are food and the human body – not necessarily in that order. “Food is not just sustenance to me,” said Simone, a James Beard award-winning chef. “In culinary school, it is taught that how one serves and arranges a meal on the plate is almost as important as the preparation of the dish itself. Our senses are aroused not only by the taste, smell and texture, but also by how food is presented visually.”

Freedman, known as one of Seattle’s finest photographers and creator of the iPhone app Burning Man: A Photo Essay, agrees with Simone, and also believes that one of the oldest traditions in art is the photographic representation of the human form.

Tiberio Simone and Matt Freedman, Authors of La Figa

“Photographing the nude is one of the most revered tests of a photographer’s mettle,” Freedman said. “It’s not about sexuality, but sensuality and how a photographer can transcend modern mores and portray the simple, elegant beauty of the human form. When Tiberio – who was already one of my best friends – had the crazy idea of making art by placing fruits and vegetables on people’s nude bodies, I knew I had to photograph it.  His artistic vision was a perfect match for my own.”

That project became La Figa: Visions of Food and Form, a coffee table book that features a spectacular collection of sensual photography – models wearing nothing but Simone’s edible creations.

Who loves coffee?

La Figa examines the relationship between food, touch and the ingredients that make life delicious,” said Simone. “It’s a unique hybrid of fine art photography and food. We combine the images with stories and even a collection of my favorite recipes. To us, it’s about natural beauty and fresh flavors. It‘s about our human connection with the food that we eat and how fresh food brings our senses to life, and tunes us in to our most primal instincts for flavor and pleasure.”

When they first embarked on the project, not surprisingly, the models were mostly young, slender women, but Simone and Freedman listened to the women and, as such, they later added men (thanks, guys).

“Then I realized that fruit and vegetables have something in common with people’s bodies – they come in different shapes, sizes, tastes, and smells,” Simone said. “So I started adding people of different ages and shapes. The La Figa concept is the idea that we can find beauty in everything and everyone around us. I wanted our pictures to accurately convey my message. On our first shoot, I completely covered a woman’s body with over 1500 slices of cucumber. In the five years since then, Matt and I have done more than 50 photo shoots together for La Figa, in hopes that it will help me to spread my philosophy about the importance of food and touch as the basics ingredients of a good life. These photos range from pomegranate lingerie, to a white chocolate warrior. To make these images, I had to create many techniques to keep the food fresh, bright, and beautiful on the body – long enough for Matt to take dozens of photographs. We hope the end result will stir people’s souls, pique their curiosity, and most importantly, inspire them to eat well, and make love.”

How 'bout them apples?

About Tiberio Simone

Born in southern Italy, Tiberio Simone is a James Beard Award-winning chef and pleasure activist. He has been cooking for as long as he can remember, beginning in his mother’s kitchen. Tiberio started his career by working at an Italian restaurant in Seattle, where he moved at the age of 21. He eventually became the pastry chef at Seattle’s Four Seasons Olympic Hotel. Years later – tired of corporate cooking – Tiberio launched his own company: La Figa Catering.

About Matt Freedman

Matt Freedman is both a professional photographer and a professional technologist. In 2007, he was able to combine his passion for photography and technology by becoming the staff photographer and Director of Technology for JUST CAUSE Magazine – a bi-monthly magazine focusing on solutions, with stories of individuals, organizations and businesses doing good in the world. In 2009, Matt once again merged photography and technology to produce Burning Man: A Photo Essay – the first iPhone app about the Burning Man festival. A “coffee table book for the iPhone,” the app combines Matt’s photography, writing and software engineering.

Buy La Figa Here

Little Tibet

Shakti Ladakh View from Likhir house

They call it, “Ladakhi Love,” because this high-altitude desert is a breathtaking escape where remote wilderness overlooks the Himalayas. Here, one is brought closer to the love in their heart and the SO in their soul.

Ladakh, better known as little Tibet, is in India’s northernmost region. Only comfortably accessible to travelers during the summer and fall months, this time of year, the weather is gorgeous and humidity-free, making it the perfect alternative to the sticky heat that envelopes the rest of India.  We’re highlighting Shakti, operator of bespoke walking tours and homestays, because they’re a small sweet little outfit offering customized, private itineraries for guests to experience the breathtaking beauty of this remote wilderness with a full range of activities including village-to-village walks, treks, visits to monasteries, camping, and rafting along the Shayok and Indus Rivers.

Shakti Ladakh Taru Bedroom

For the 2011 Shakti Ladakh season (May 1 – October 31) there are three new village houses as well as new treks and camping options in and around the Indus Valley.  The village houses have been gently spruced up to meet Western standards and yet maintain their authenticity as British interior designer Ellie Stanton has created a stylish and comfortable décor for each, including all new fittings in the bathrooms that give them a stylish functionality.  All houses feature solar power and grey water recycling facilities; locally-source wood and mud bricks were used in the construction along with sustainably-harvested willow for the interior roofing in the traditional Ladakhi style.

About the new village houses and treks:

Shey: This century-old home offers views from its roof terrace of the nearby Shey Palace and the Tibetan-Buddhist Thiksey monastery. It has three bedrooms, an en suite bath, large sitting room, and traditional kitchen.  Many of the rooms are painted in a traditional style with decades-old motifs.  The village house at Shey provides a great location for walking, trekking, and biking.

Eego: The village of Eego is one of the few locations where guests can enter and exit the valley on foot. This 150-year-old stone baronial mansion, three stories high, is situated above the village near a glacier and some of the oldest Ladakhi dwellings.  It boasts three bedrooms, a sitting room, a dining room, and an open terrace with stunning views of snowcapped peaks.  Eego provides a superb setting for walks and treks.

Likhir: Sitting above the renowned Likhir monastery and just below the glacier that bears its name, the village house at Likhir provides jaw-dropping, alpine-like sights of the valley and snowcapped peaks. It has two bedrooms, en suite bath, and is within easy reach of Alchi village and the famous Alchi monastery, one of the oldest in Ladakh, with its beautifully preserved 11th century wall paintings.

Stakmo to Eego Four-Day Trek: This three-night/four-day trek through the unexplored valleys and villages on the north side of the Indus Valley can be added on to any Shakti Ladakh itinerary.  On daily treks 5-6 hours in length, guests will experience trekking along some of the highest ridgelines as they traverse from west to east across the northern side of the Indus Valley, passing by villages, forgotten valleys, and high-altitude flora and fauna such as the ibex, yaks, and marmots.  Enjoy daily picnics in some of the most stunning valleys and picturesque river settings the Ladakh region has to offer, while evenings are left to explore villages and camp out under the stars in comfortable, domed canvas tents.

Shakti Ladakh Courtyard at Shey

For Shakti Ladakh’s seven-night itinerary, rates start at $890 per night for one person traveling, $530 per night per person for two to three persons, and $461 per night per person for parties of four to six. Included in the rate: private accommodations for group, all meals, drinks, activities, two rafting trips (weather dependent), English-speaking guide, cook, porters, car at disposal, all taxes, 5% service charge, and round-trip transfers between Leh Airport and Shakti Ladakh.  Minimum stay of five nights required; children ages three and older allowed.

For Stakmo and Eego three-night, four-day trek, rates begin at $1,499 per person on a twin/double share basis.  Included in this rate: accommodation in dome tent, all meals and drinks, English-speaking guide, porters, transfers between Stakmo and Eego at the beginning and end of trek.  Children 16 and older are allowed.

www.shaktihimalaya.com

Live Large. Spend Small.

When we caught wind of a hot Stanford chick who launched a guide to living well on the cheap, we had to learn more. We’re all about living well on a shoestring. Sure, luxury is worth the spend. It provides jobs, feeds families, and bolsters local economies, but when you can live well and save… well, that’s what we’re all about, baby.

Enter: Broke Girl’s Guidea lifestyle digital and mobile media company targeting the modern day “it girl” aged 18-35 who is cutting edge and rich in taste, yet discerning about how she spends her money. For her, BGG serves as the hip and in-the-know friend who keeps her up-to-date on everything cheap and chic, delivering her the news via an email newsletter, website, social media sites and her smartphone/tablet.

BGG provides a daily local email newsletter that offers a “hip bite” of editorial information on fashion, dining out, style and local events, as well as curated round ups of deal sites (e.g. Gilt, HauteLook) and retailer sales (e.g. urbanoutfitters.com, local West Hollywood boutique). In addition, BGG leverages its relationships with local and online retailers to offer exclusive deals to its subscriber base. For instance, there is currently a $1,000 giveaway to Gilt City that is being offered to new sign-ups. The website serves as an archive of newsletter content as well as includes additional cheap and chic musings. BGG will soon be launching a shopping channel with affiliates to allow its users to purchase goods that are highlighted on the site. And, since launching just two months ago, BGG has tripled its subscriber base.

Not too shabby…

www.brokegirlsguide.com

Review: La Costa Resort and Spa

Family Travel Contributor

This week, Family Travel Contributor, Hillary Helsing, takes us to La Costa Resort and Spa for more stelllar family fun. No stranger to surf luxury, Hillary, an ex-pharmaceutical sales executive and one-time Quiksilver employee, resides in Huntington Beach and lives for luxe family vacations that don’t always have to cost a pretty penny.

A great family getaway that won’t break the bank, La Costa Resort and Spa, less than an hour from Orange County and 10 minutes from Legoland, is nestled in the hills of Carlsbad. Forget the beach on this trip. Drive, valet and stay. Bring the baby or the tween, and leave the nanny at home. Your family is well taken care of at this resort. There is a water play area, 7 pools, water slides (2 that are toddler safe), sandy beach pool that is 3-4 feet deep! Mom, this means you do not have to get in if you don’t want to. Sip a mai-tai and watch your darlings frolic in the shallow, huge kiddie pool.

I hear ya…Where is the luxury? First, ask for a renovated room or suite, they are beautiful. Second drop the kiddos off at Kidtopia. Kidtopia is a 6000 sq. ft. recreation center of indoor fun for ages 6 months to 12 years. It is adorable; slides, games, huge fish tank, lighted dance floor, and a bevy of young enthusiastic staff.

La Costa's Big Kid Slide

Grab your hubby and play tennis, golf, or go to the spa. They tout the spa is rated #1 in Southern California, I beg to differ. It is, however, newly designed and very nice.  I do agree with Travel Magazine, this resort is clearly #2 in Family Friendly Resorts! Last but not least, “Ask! Ask! ask!” Ask for discounts, vouchers, or upgrades. They are more than willing!

Rooms start at $229 and go up and up!

www.lacosta.com

Get Married in Bali, Baby!

A Swedish Couple Gets Married in Bali - Viceroy

That’s right… who wouldn’t want to get hitched in Bali? With the debut of the Royal Balinese Wedding Blessing Package at Viceroy Bali, couples can now experience a traditional regal wedding in a uniquely exclusive, exotic, and elegant setting – without paying a king’s ransom. While intimate and relaxed in style, the Viceroy Bali offers facilities, accommodation, and service fit for royalty, including a dedicated Guest Service Manager who is available to coordinate every detail of the wedding celebration. A must for any cute couple.


For those seeking an extraordinarily romantic ceremony and reception, the RoyalBalinese Wedding Blessing Package is sure to please. In addition to the priceless seclusion, surroundings, and service, the package includes: a choice of two exclusive wedding venues (the balé or the main garden); elegant Balinese or contemporary decorations; floral arrangements and fresh flower petal confetti; traditional Balinese wedding costumes; Balinese spiritual offering; wedding cake; wedding dinner worthy of royalty; wedding photographs on a CD-ROM plus bound in an album; a leader of the wedding ceremony and a traditional Balinese dance performance.

The best part? The cost! The package is $3,500 US, as described; should the bride and groom provide their own wedding attire, the cost for the Royal Viceroy Wedding Package is $3,000. The Viceroy Bali will also arrange for the legal formalization of the ceremony for a fee of $800.