Driven: 2014 Lexus IS350 F Sport

Growing up, Lexus was never big on my car radar. It seemed to fit my parents’ (heck, grandparents’) generation just fine. But I knew, when it was my turn behind the wheel, I’d be shooting for something a little different. That was, however, until 1998 rolled around. That’s when the IS first came to production in the United States. With one of the first cars to have Altezza taillights, and luxury-meets-fast lane looks, I was hooked.

Fast forward to 2014, and the third generation of the IS is still going strong. We recently got our hands on the 2015 IS350 F Sport. Read on to see how it went.
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Topo Designs – Fall 2014 Collection

The heart of every brand is to capture and portray an idea. They communicate the very essence of a place in time that others connect with and embrace. For Topo Designs, communicating the Rocky Mountains comes naturally. Based in Colorado, this outdoor brand effortlessly resonates something that every fisher, hunter, ski instructor, hiker, climber, biker and traveler can relate to.

Topo Design’s Fall 2014 Collection gets it right, again. With new bags, shirts, and pants, they bring a fresh perspective to outdoor wear. Click the photos above to see what’s new.

Learn More: Here

A Tour of Aberlour’s Whisky Distillery

Nestled in a valley near the mountain Ben Rinnes, Scotland, Aberlour Distillery was initially built in 1826, destroyed by a fire in 1879 and then rebuilt in the same year by James Fleming, a farmer’s son. Its location, with an abundance of timber, pristine waters of the River Spey and resourceful Scotsmen, is part of the same stunning convergence of natural resources that has turned this central Speyside region into a hotbed of whisky brands: Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Ardmore to name a few. This is, truly, the Napa Valley of whisky.

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Interview: Clint Wilkinson of Bell & Oak

Born and raised in the Lone Star State, leather artisan, Clint Wilkinson of Bell & Oak, is a study in the maker renaissance. His hand crafted leather goods have inspired a generation of individuals eschewing mass production in search of authenticity and purpose. More than the goods, these people have bought into an idea, an ethos, a way of life that resonates in everything made by the hands of Wilkinson.

But Wilkinson loves what he does and the people he does it for. It’s not merely making a product to sell, it’s building relationships and collaborating with other makers that fuels his work. We recently sat down with him to find out what drives this passion.

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2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club Sport

On paper with only 167 horsepower under the hood, the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn’t look like a sports car, but unlike other sports cars that boast about their gobs of power, this little roadster has something else under its sleeve. When Mazda handed me the keys to the 2014 Miata Club Sport I didn’t know what I was in store for. On paper the Miata’s stats didn’t seem too impressive, so I prepared myself for what would end up being a kinda blah experience. Well I was definitely wrong.
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Plated Review

We watch Shark Tank, too. That’s where we first heard about the gourmet delivery service, Plated. Every week, seven chef-designed recipes are featured on their “menu” (four healthy meat & fish, three unique vegetarian). You select which days you want your food delivered, and voilà, they send you everything you need to prepare the meal of your choice.

We’re skeptics, naturally, but we also love food. So when we heard about Plated we had to give it a try. One of two things was going to happen: 1) we were going to prove why home delivery of food is a bad idea, or 2) we were going down as culinary legends among our friends for the gourmet meals prepared in our kitchen. I’ll cut the suspense – it was the latter.

Read on to find out what happened.

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Wanderlust: Five Reasons To Visit Thailand

I’ve been dreaming of visiting Southeast Asia for a long time. Most recently, I can’t stop wanderlusting about the beautiful country of Thailand. Here are five reasons why you should visit Thailand on your next tropical escape:

  1. Gorgeous Beaches – there are miles and miles of pristine beaches with crystal clear, bright turquoise water all over Thailand. Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, & Phi Phi Island are some of the most popular destinations. Even in these touristy areas, there are quiet beaches and secluded bays to check out for a more peaceful holiday.
  2. Food – Thai food is amazing. We like it so much, we dedicated a special day of the week to become Thai Tuesday, and we go to our favorite Thai restaurant. Whether you’re eating in a restaurant or just getting a cheap bite on the street, you will not be disappointed. While I personally haven’t gotten to check out legit Thai food first hand (yet!), this is one of the things I hear people rave about the most.
  3. Cost  – If you want an exotic locale where your dollar can really be stretched, Thailand is the place for you. Grand resorts and five course dinners are a fraction of what they would cost in the U.S. and even less than expensive tropical getaways like Bora Bora, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, or the Caribbean. If you avoid pampering yourself on vacation because it’s just so darn expensive, Thailand is a place you can splurge without it costing much. It really is perfect for those traveling on a budget, which most people are.
  4. Yi Peng in Chiang Mai – If you thought the captivating lantern scene in Tangled was just an animated fantasy, think again. It actually exists (but for different reasons)! Yi Peng is a religious festival held at the end of October/beginning of November each year in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where thousands of beautiful glowing lanterns (and accompanying wishes) are released into the sky. The scene is unquestionably mesmerizing.
  5. Elephant trekking – There are so many opportunities throughout Asia, but especially in Thailand, to go on a safari or trek through a jungle on the back of a precious elephant. This is a great way to see much of the scenery and get to experience something totally unique.

All of these pictures are from my Thailand Pinterest board here.

Cadillac ELR

If looks can kill, the Cadillac ELR is deadly. This extraordinarily-designed aerodynamic coupe looks like everything a sporty Cadillac should: low, sexy lines, nose down-tail up, chiseled, aggressive, provocative, and without any concession to practicality.

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Review: Butter Restaurant – Midtown NYC

It only makes sense that The City that Never Sleeps would have a lot of food options. When options run the gamut, it’s tough to decide where to indulge. Our rule of thumb? The brighter the sign, the worse the food. That’s one of the reasons we’re so attracted to Butter Restaurant. Butter Restaurant has maintained an exclusive, niche scene for stylish Manhattanites since its initial inception on Lafayette St. in 2002.

The understated entrance gives way to dramatic architecture that sets an appropriate, elegant mood. High-arching ceilings, cozy booths, romantic lighting and an inviting bar are all par for the course.

With Food Network star and Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli at the helm, Butter Midtown offers a seasonal menu of greenmarket offerings. To start, we recommend the Maine Lobster on the half shell with fresh basil oil. Follow that with Creekstone Farms “Butter Cut” Beef Filet and a side of shoestring yukon gold potatoes. Finish the night with a signature raspberry beignet, creme brulee or their famous New York style cheesecake and a signature cocktail.

NYC has a lot to offer. Even so, you’ll have a hard time finding something more rewarding than a visit to Butter.

Learn More: Here

Brooklyn Biltong

Growing up in Pretoria, South Africa, you get used to wind-dried jerky known as Biltong. Bringing that process to Brooklyn, Ben and his wife Em developed Brooklyn Biltong ($10), an all natural bite of steak in a bag that can be used as a post workout meal or a protein-filled snack. And hey, for every bag of biltong you buy, they give some away to the homeless population in Brooklyn. Feed others while feeding yourself.

Buy Now: $10