Models With Tattoos

January 15th, 2009

Tattoos are now more popular than ever. Many celebrities have one or more tattoos, including actors, actresses, pop stars and sports stars. Even models are joining the trend. Many go for small discrete tattoos, but some are more daring, with large designs on prominent parts of the body. But many modeling agencies try to dissuade their stars from body markings. For catalog and magazine work the customer often demands tattoos to be made invisible (by body make up, or post-shoot on the computer), and in the world of high-fashion, tattoos are still seen as ugly and unsightly serving only to take away attention from the clothes.

So are tattoos on models hugely garish and totally inappropriate , or do they add to the model’s visual allure? ‘Beaut and cute’ or ‘Tramp stamp’? Let’s keep a running score.

Carolyn Murphy


Carolyn Murphy has a super large tattoo which wraps around the top of her right thigh all the way to the small of her back. It’s a Japanese Koi fish, a design similar to the pattern on her ex Brandon Boyd. Unsurprisingly, Carolyn often poses with just her left side towards the camera. She has another tattoo on a not-so-visible spot just below the bikini line (spot-it in the famous sex tape put on the internet, again thanks to her vindictive ex). For more Carolyn info and wallpapers see Carolyn Murphy

Verdict. Large, ugly tattoo. Running Score – Beaut and Cute 0, Tramp Stamp 1.

Ana Beatriz Barros


Anna Beatriz Barros has a large tattoo on the small of her back – the Kanji sign for love between angel’s wings. She also has a tattoo on the outside of her left ankle, a crescent moon half-circling a star. For more Ana info and wallpapers see Anna Beatriz Barros

What was Ana thinking? She’s not in a chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Score Beaut and Cute 0, Tramp Stamp 2.

Isabeli Fontana


Isabeli Fontana has her son’s name (Zion) tattooed on her back. Isabeli also has a tattoo of a thorn and rose wrapped around her left ankle, and of a Cancer star sign (circle enclosing a cross) on the inside of her right wrist. For more Isabeli info and wallpapers see Isabeli Fontana.

Verdict. Love the tattoo around the ankle (discreet and fetching), but hate the one between her shoulder blades (again too biker-like). Score Beaut and Cute 0, Tramp Stamp 3.

Gisele Bundchen


Gisele Bundchen has a small five pointed star on the inside of her left wrist. It’s rumored she got it when she came to New York City and couldn’t see that many stars compared to her homeland of Brasil… so she got the star tattoo to always have something to guide her. Gisele also has a small tattoo of a waxing moon with star on the inside of the back of her right foot below the ankle. For more Gisele info and wallpapers see Gisele Bundchen.

Verdict. Pretty and inconspicuous. Beaut and Cute 1, Tramp Stamp 3.

Allessandra Ambrosio


Alessandra Ambrosio has a small tattoo on the left side of her lower back. The design is difficult to discern. For more Alessandra info and wallpapers see Alessandra Ambrosio.

Verdict: Although small, it’s a blurred, indistinct and poor tattoo. Score Beaut and Cute 1, Tramp Stamp 4.

Petra Nemcova


Petra Nemcova has a beautiful cascade of stars on the inside of her right foot. For more Petra info and wallpapers see Petra Nemcova.

Verdict: Pretty and stylish. Score Beaut and Cute 2, Tramp Stamp 4.

Nicole Trunfio

It’s been necessary to travel nearly half-way around the globe to find some class, but finally it’s a canny Aussie that’s bringing something stylish to the party.

Nicole Trunfio has a cute and funny clothes hanger tatt on the nape of her neck, which I’m sure reflects some of her feelings about her profession. For more Nicole info and wallpapers see Nicole Trunfio.

Verdict: Interesting and pretty. Score Beaut and Cute 3, Tramp Stamp 4.

Final Score

Beaut and Cute 3, Tramp Stamp 4.

A narrow win for low pop culture. If you’re a body MUA (make-up-artist), rest easy, your job’s secure!

Know more about the red-carpet than the catwalk? Checkout my lens The Award for Actress with the Best Tattoo Goes to? See if you can guess the winner before looking!

Sugarbush Ski Resort, Vermont

January 13th, 2009

Sugarbush ski resort is located in Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. It’s about a 3½ hours drive from Boston, and 5½ hours drive from NYC.

Sugarbush was first opened as a small ski area in the late 1950s by Damon Gadd and his wife Sara, together with their business partner Jack Murphy. It quickly became established as a popular winter destination for the rich and famous, and the resort enjoyed several halycon years. But gradually Sugarbush fell out of favor. In 1977 Roy Cohen bought the concern off the Gadds, and enlarged it substantially by annexing the neigboring Mt Ellen Glen ski operation. Slowly Sugarbush returned to popularity. In 2001 ownership again transferred, this time to Summit Ventures. A substantial redevelopment program has now paid dividends, making the resort attractive and appealing. Not only does it now boast some super slope-side accommodation, but also a state of the art snowmaking system, covering over 70% of the slopes. This gives Sugarbush one of the most reliable snow records in the East.

Thanks to its history the resort is divided into two areas, ‘North’, the area at Mt Ellen Peak (4083′) and ‘South’, the area at Lincoln Peak (3975′). The two areas are connected by the very up-and-down Slide Brook chair, which traverse Slide Brook, the large valley between the two mountains. It can be a lot easier to travel from Lincoln Peak Base to Mt Ellen Base by free shuttle bus.

Ski-school sessions are run at both Lincoln and Ellen base areas. If you’re a beginner there a plenty of green trails at both sites. At Lincoln favorites for improvers include the greens reached by the Gatehouse express quad. Make your way (tentatively) down the gently-sloped Pushover, which connects to Easy Rider to return to the chair’s start. At Mt Ellen there’s a couple of short slopes, Graduation and Sugar Run, both very beginner-friendly, accessed by the Sunshine chair.

At the Lincoln area, one of the best areas for Intermediates is Allyn’s Lodge. There are 5 blue runs which peel off Snowball, all are brilliant runs, not too testing, but exciting and exhilirating. My favorite is Domino chute, which carves a big right hand turn down the hill. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Lincoln peak’s summit at least once, to experience Jester, which gives some of the best views at the resort. Over at Mt Ellen, the best blues are Rim Run, Elbow and Way Back – all off the very top of the mountain.

Expert skiiers are spoilt for choice. At the Lincoln Peak summit, Paradise and Ripcord two steep bumps can both be recommended. At Mt Ellen summit, the blacks at the top, FIS and Black Diamond are similar lines, technical and demanding.

Ski-in, ski-out accommodation is available in the Lincoln Peak base, at the up-market Clay Brook residences. Alternatively there is the excellent Sugarbush Inn, a short drive away. There’s also lots of condo lodging in Sugarbush village.

Best Ski Resorts‘ (from 100BestEverything) rating (out of 5 stars) 2-expert,3-intermediate, 4-beginner.

The Best Family Ski Resorts – USA

January 13th, 2009

You both love skiing. Before the children came along, you’d go on skiing vacations together. Now it seems so much harder. It’s more expensive, more difficult to organise, and you risk suffering screaming, upset, tearful kids. But get a grip of yourself. Plan slowly, pick carefully, budget wisely, and a skiing vacation can be amazingly successful for the whole family. For show me a 5 year old that doesn’t get a kick out of sliding down the snow, and I’ll introduce you to the real Father Christmas. Family-friendly resorts are not that hard to find – avoid the double-black obsessed, the luxury hotel centered, or the limited ‘things to do’ resorts. Here are 3 possibilites that tick all the boxes to make a truly memorable family vacation.

#1 Big Sky, Montana

Big Sky is located in the spectacular wilderness area of South Western Montana, just a few miles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. There’s a good range of terrain to suit all skiing abilities, all the way from first-timers to experienced double-black addicts.

 Accomodation in the ski village is convenient and modern, and for the most part of the ski season, ski-in, ski-out. Thanks to its small quiet ski village, wide uncrowded slopes, and great kids’ ski school, Big Sky is a big hit with families.

 

 

 #2 Steamboat, Colorado

When you decide to Ski Steamboat Colorado, you’ve made a great choice. The town has the nickname ‘Ski Town USA’, and it’s well-earned, because many say the skiing is better than anywhere. The town is split into two, the old downtown section, dating back to the 19th century, with an authentic cowboy ambiance, and the more modern ‘Mountain Area’ village higher up the valley, spread out in front of the gondola area. There’s a free shuttle bus that connects the two which takes about 10 minutes.

Steamboat pioneered ‘Kids Ski Free’ concessions – these now can even include rental gear and accomodation. Next to the base area the large Kid’s Vacation Center offers comprehensive daycare and starter skiing lessons on an adjoining gentle slope. Non-skiing care for 6 months – 6 year olds is handled by Kiddie Corral. Most kids though will want to try out skiing – they can join the Buckaroos (2-3yrs), the Sundance Kids (3 to 5yrs), or Jackalopes (5 to 6yrs) – all these programmes include short skiing sessions. From 7 years onward, your kids can join tailored sessions run by the proper ski-school. In the evening, the fun’s not over. There’s a large skating rink – always very popular with kids. And if you’re not already cold to the bones after a day on the slopes, take them swimming – the pool complex has a brilliant water slide.

#3 Vail

Vail is a pleasant pedestrianised village, built mostly in Swiss-chalet style. The resort’s accomodation spreads along the highway, so when arranging your vacation, make sure to book within walking distance of the center. This way it’s a pleasant stroll to town as a family, or if your kids are in their teens, they can make their own way there.

 

The skiing is perfect for kids learning to ski, with a large number of suitably-graded slopes within easy access of the village. The ski school runs a fully structured programme from Mini Mice (3-4 yr), Mogul Mice (4-6yrs) and Superstars (7 and older). In the evenings, younger kids are well catered for by the Fort Whippersnapper area – they’ll love its ski-through Lost Mine. Older kids head for Adventure Ridge (a short gondola ride from the village – free in the evening) which offers night skiing and snowboarding, ice skating, tubing and laser tag. The whole atmosphere is very child-friendly – nobody bats an eyelid when a snowball fight breaks out amongst your little ones.

#4 Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

Smuggler’s Notch (or Smuggs as it is affectionatley nicknamed) is located in the heart of Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains, about 10 miles south from Jeffersonville. The resort is spread over two centers. Firstly the village, nestled at the foot of the slopes of Morse Mountain, and secondly a second separate base area, a short distance from the village, serving the larger Madonna and Sterling Peaks.

The ski village at Smuggs takes family-friendliness to the next level. Day child-care is provided at the excellent (and fully licensed) Treasures center, where capable staff will care for your child in an large and colorful kindergarten with attached and fully secured outdoor area. From the age of 2 1/2, kids can start to learn to ski with the Little Rascals on Snow group.

Older kids are catered for by a comprehensive range of ski lessons, provided on a day camp, or extended day camp basis. For 3-5 year-olds there’s Discovery Dynamos, 6-10 Adventure Rangers, 11-15 Notch Squad, and 16-17 Mountain Explorer.

But it’s really off the slopes that Smuggs excels. There’s a huge Fun Zone, an indoor play area, complete with inflatable play structures like slides and ramps, fuzzball tables, table-tennis tables and electronic games. Nearby is a good-sized heated pool with hot-tubs.

Accommodation at Smuggs is based on ski-in ski-out condos, which are close to the village center and ski-slopes – very convenient and so much better than sheperding all your kids into a shuttle bus with miles to go to reach the slopes.

Smuggs claim’s itself to be America’s Family Resort, with some justification since most familes have an enormously enjoyable vacation. But be warned – you may find the camp atmosphere a little overwhelming.

Other Resources

Nothing beats a little research when it comes to picking a suitable ski resort. A great resource is

Best Ski Resorts A useful roundup of the best ski resorts.

The Best Beaches in Hawaii Big Island

November 3rd, 2008

Ok, this year you deserve a really special vacation. Preferably chilling out on a beautiful beach, watching azure blue seas lapping onto golden sand.
But where to go?

For the best beaches you’ve got to look further afield than Florida or Southern California. Instead think the Hawaiian islands, for the beaches here have a true tropical paradise feel. And the best Hawaii island to pick? Well, Hawaii itself. Not only are the beaches here beautiful, but you can also visit the awe-inspiring Volcanoes National Park.
Now just to show you how wonderful the beaches on the Big Island are, here’s a top 5 selection to give you some real inspiration for your vacation.

#5 Waipi’o Beach

Waipi’o Beach cannot be recommended for sunbathing or swimming. Come here to admire the magnificent scenery, and the glorious landscape. The beach marks the end of the impressive Waipi’o valley – surrounded either side by high-reaching densely-vegetated mountains.

It’s a very steep road down into the valley, not suitable for most cars, so the best idea is to park at Waipi’o Lookup, and walk down about a mile to the beach. When you arrive, you’ve a real treat in store. The stroll along the black lava sand comes with superb views – either side the beach is hemmed in by tall cliffs, with cascading waterfalls.

You can also walk back into the valley, along a rough path which follows the river. It’s a wonderful twisting and turning hike with several chances to stop and admire the impressive vistas.

#4 Green Sand Beach

Green Sand Beach is found at the very southern tip of the island. Green Sand Beach is located at South Point, the southernmost tip of the Big Island. Park your car at the end of the road. Be prepared for quite a hike to the beach – it’s over 2 miles to the beach along the rough road that follows the coast. Carry a generous supply of water – you might not see anyone for the next 3 or so hours, let along find a shop selling soda.

When you’ve been walking for about a mile, the Puu Mahana cone rises into sight. The beach you’re heading for lies inside the rim of the cone. When you finally get there, make sure to walk up the the summit of the cone for the marvellous ocean and island views.

Retrace your steps to get back to the turnoff down to the beach. Be careful as you make the steep descent, as it can be slippery in places.

The beach itself is amazing. The sand consists of fine grains of bright green olivine volcanic glass. After you’ve finished admiring the geology, jump in for a swim – only if the waves are small.

#3 Makalawena Beach

To reach Makalena Beach requires a bit of a trek, which on hot days can be hard work. Before you set out to visit this magnificent beach, pack a backpack with plenty of food and water – there are no provisions available at this remote beauty spot.

In your car, take Route 19 northwards from Kailua-Kona, then turn left onto the rough access road for Kekaha Kai State Park (after mile 88). After a rough 1 mile, the road reaches a crossroads. Park your car on the small area available next to the intersection. Follow the path that leads right from the crossroads. (Straight on leads you to Mahaiula beach, left goes to Makolea beach – both are also worth a visit).

After a few minutes, you’ll arrive at the coast, where you can pick up the coastal trail. Turn right, to head north. The path now leaves the coast, across a rugged patch of black lava. It takes about 20 minutes to cross the lava, then you arrive at the southern end of Makalawena beach.

Phew! No wonder you’ll often have the beach to yourself. But the hike-in’s well worth it, because you’ve arrived at one of the most beautiful beaches on the Hawaiian islands.

Makalawena beach actually consists of 3 sweeps of sand, separated from each other by lava points. There’s lots of vegetation behind the sand, so if you want it’s easy to find a place out of the sun for your picnic.

The swimming and snorkeling are absolutely super. The water is pleasantly warm and, on calmer days, the underwater visibility excellent. Body and boogie-board surfers head for the last of the beaches – the surf is normally better there.

#2 Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach Hawaii is a gorgeous ½ mile curve of fine white sand set between black lava points. The far (northern) end of the beach is in front of the swish Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. The hotel complex does tend to spoil the natural beauty of the beach (but if you’re actually staying in the hotel, you’ve a wonderful beach on your doorstep).

The public parking lot for the beach is just next to the sands at the southern end. A large sign on Hwy 19 marks the turn off. It can get very busy, so make sure you turn up early (or late) to be sure of a spot.

The seas off the beach are a water enthusiast’s dream. The swimming is enjoyable, the boogie-boarding exhilirating. Snorkellers will find the best sightings to be around the coral reef off the southern end of the beach.

If you’ve come to the public (State park) part of the beach, you’ll appreciate the useful facilities, including restrooms, showers, picnic tables and snack concession. There are also a number of very rustic cabins – book well before your holiday to secure one of these.

Believe it or not, some people get bored of lounging at the beach. These types might enjoy venturing along the Ala Kahakai Coastal Trail which passes through Hapuna beach. An ambitious target would be the walk to wonderful Mauna Kea beach, about 2 miles north.

#1 Kua Bay

Many people rate Kua Bay to be the most beautiful beach on the island, and it’s hard to disagree. The soft white sand of the beach slopes gradually into the turquoise blue seawater. At both ends of the sandy crescent, rocky lava headlands jut out into the water (if you’re snorkelling check out these rocky points – you’ll often see large parrot fish, and even turtles, but take care as it gets a lot choppier out towards the rocks). When you’ve been out in the sun too long, there are a few trees behind the beach which provide shady refuge, but it can be hard to find a comfortable spot, so it’s wise to take a sunshade.

The water’s easily warm enough to make swimming a complete joy – the more energetic can boogie-board, or thrill themselves by jumping into the sea from the small offshore rocks.

Don’t hurry home from the beach in the evening – the sunsets are absolutely magnificent, as bright red and orange colors streak out from the sun and reflect in the clouds.

Ideas For Away From The Beach
#1 Volcanoes National Park See the spectacular active lava flow at Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano. Hike more than 150 miles of trails in the park.

#2 Hilo Historic Downtown Hilo is alive and bustling and the perfect place to enjoy an evening out. Enjoy the lush tropical scenery of Hilo Bay and Queen Liliuokalani Gardens.

#3 Tour of Mauna Kea observatory A fascinating and dare-we-say educational outing, but at 13796 ft, you may suffer a little altitude sickness

#4 A Walking tour of Kailua Includes the King’s summer home Hulihe’e Palace, an ancient heiau, and one of the first churches founded by missionaries over 180 years ago, Mokuaikaua Church.

#5 Enjoy a luau Corny it may be, but always great fun, whether a free luau in a shopping mall, an evening’s entertainment at your resort, or an authentic professional production.

Still Dithering?

Mull over the following clincher points:
Warm sea temperatures all year round (between 70F & 80F).
Beautiful sands overlooking crystal clear seas, backed by magnificent tropical greenery.
Great for watersports – swimming, surfing and snorkelling.
Ok, you’re not the sports type. Just laze around sunbathing.
Each beach has its own separate character.

Find more details about all the beaches at 100 Best Beaches.