The Best of Bond

No Time to Die, featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond, and the 25th Bond film produced by Eon Productions, goes live in Theaters Oct. 8

The first James Bond film, Dr. No, was released 59 years ago this month. It was mocked by many critics following its debut on October 5th, 1962 at the London Pavilion. Time Magazine described Sean Connery as “a great, big, hairy marshmallow.” Then the Vatican decried its sexual content and the Kremlin declared 007 the embodiment of capitalist evil. Continue reading

Sounds of Summer: 8 Outdoor Amphitheaters To Visit This Summer

Ah, summer. The season of BBQs, baseball and the beach. Give those summertime soirees their due, but few things can compare to live music at a beautiful outdoor venue with the warm summer breeze wafting through your hair and a cold drink in hand.

For some, the experience has a historical aspect to it; open-air events were enjoyed in Ancient Greece and Rome and many outdoor venues have National Historic Landmark status or have a special place in music history. For others, it’s the thrill of standing under an open sky, taking in the views while the music surrounds you. These concert goers purchase tickets every summer no matter the lineup or how high the service charge is.

Continue reading

Frank Family Vineyards Donates Portion of Chardonnay Sales To Autism Speaks

Coronavirus has gripped our country and the world like nothing we have ever seen or could imagine. To say that vanquishing it through social distancing and other measures is the most important thing in most of our lives right now seems like a safe bet. From a philanthropic standpoint it should rightfully be a priority for most who can afford to give. But there are other causes that still need our attention even in the deepest depths of the coronavirus pandemic. One of these causes is Autism awareness. April, after all, is Autism awareness month.


Frank Family Vineyards, founded in 1992 by former Disney Studios president Rich Frank—and one of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley—is a champion of this cause. Throughout the month of April, the winery will donate 15% of all proceeds from direct sales of its 2018 Carneros Chardonnay ($38) as well as from “Frank for a Cause” packages ($55) featuring a limited-edition blue t-shirt and bottle of Chardonnay. Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization and this donation will help fund the organization’s vital programs that increase global understanding, advance breakthroughs in autism research, expand early childhood screening and improve transition to adulthood. Those interested in supporting the cause may do so via the Frank Family Vineyards website.


“The outbreak of the coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on the world, with the fast-changing environment requiring navigation through uncertain times. During a time like this, we want to make sure non-profit organizations are not overlooked and are therefore continuing with our plan to support Autism Speaks during the month of April,” says Rich Frank.


The inspiration behind Frank Family’s 2020 fundraising campaign is Jennifer Higgins, who has been a vital part of the Frank Family team as Retail Operations Administrative Assistant for the past 12 years.


She graciously shared her family’s experience with Autism: “Every parent stresses out and worries about their kids. For us, our concerns are just different. We love our son Owen for all that he is and want to see a world where people with autism can discover their true potential,” she says. “I hope this campaign, along with all the work this charity does throughout the year, helps to create a kinder, more inclusive world.”


This year Autism Speaks is celebrating its 15th anniversary as an organization and will be launching a commitment to make 2020 the “Year of Kindness.” The goal of the “Year of Kindness” is to make both the online and offline worlds kinder while increasing acceptance of individuals with autism and their families. Since the organization’s founding in 2005, its core mission remains the same: to enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.


“We have an amazing community of wine buyers at Frank Family, many of whom have supported our fundraising campaigns in the past. Through our “Frank Fights Hunger” campaign last November, we were able to raise $20,000 for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization,” says Leslie Frank. “We’re grateful that our winery’s ethos of giving back has been embraced by our customers. We look forward to raising funds for Autism Speaks this April.”

Supporters of Frank Family’s April campaign on social media should use #FrankForACause.

Track Traditions

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in 145 years of tradition, much of it booze and hat related. So much tradition surrounds the Derby that the race itself might have become secondary to the ceremony if spectators didn’t have tens of millions of dollars riding on the outcome. So, what traditions lure racing fans away from the track?

Continue reading

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

With December flying at us at lightning speed – I think it caught everyone by surprise this year – and families scrambling to squeeze in favorite Christmas traditions and past times, don’t forget to go to the New York Botanical Garden’s annual Holiday Train Show.


We go to the train show (located in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory) every year. It’s always a beautiful show, with meticulously crafted trains, tracks, landmarks and other sites, all made out of bark, leaves, pine cones and other natural materials – a true “wonder” of a site; the artistry behind it is amazing. My mom, who was born and raised in New York, loves going to this show every year just to marvel at all the famous landmark miniatures, taking in the history of the city as she wanders around from track to track. And the kids, well of course this is train heaven for them! And this year, with the added space and almost a ½ mile of tracks to explore, there are a lot of trains for the young ones to watch mesmerizingly, waiting for the next one to zip by.












[easy-image-collage id=4356]

There are 150 Landmarks to see – from Rockefeller Center to the Brooklyn Bridge to (the original) Penn Station to Yankee Stadium to the Empire State Building. This year’s exhibition features 3,000 square feet of additional exhibition space, making room for dozens of new trains, bridges, and tracks; a captivating short film of the show’s behind-the-scenes magic; and a stunning multisensory finale of light and sound. It’s a stunning show, and fascinating for all ages. If you can’t make it this month, no worries! – it’s open until January 18th. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 2-12 (under 2 free) during the week days, and $30 for adults, $18 for kids ages 2-12 during weekends. For Members, which we are, the show is free. Might I add that if you’re not a member and live in the area, you may want to consider purchasing a membership, which is almost the same price. Also, it’s best to reserve tickets in advance online to avoid potentially long lines.


Finally, don’t forget to hit the Gift Shop on your way out. It’s a fabulous shop, especially this time of year, with delicious looking holiday décor, and a great kids section. It’s one of my favorites. Whether you’re in your 80’s or in your toddler years, the NYBG’s Holiday Train Show will not disappoint!


2016 train show facts:

— All displays can be seen from 360 degrees
— 25 large scale model railway trains and trolleys
— Some trains are 2 feet long and weigh as much as 10 pounds
— More than 150 replicas in the train show
— Finale includes sound and light display in the Reflecting Pool in the Palms of the World Gallery


New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York, 10458

Best Hotel Holiday Pop Ups

From rooftop terraces transformed into enchanting winter wonderlands to charming, artisan markets selling handcrafted novelties and gifts, hotels from Vancouver to London are pulling out all the stops to offer one-of-a-kind holiday pop-ups to guests and locals alike this winter. Here are the most festive holiday pop-up experiences at luxury hotels around the world. Continue reading

6 Jazz Joints To Hit This Summer

If you’re a music lover, spending a balmy summer evening tucked away at your own table, drink in hand and listening to the blues, is a treat for all the senses. We’ve covered six different cities in hopes of finding you the perfect venue and have stamped the below jazz clubs with a GLR seal of approval. Continue reading

In With the Old

Looking for an alternative investment? Antiques can be some of the safest. 

The erratic volatility in today’s markets could make any trader, however skilled, want to throw up his hands, cut his losses and toss his remaining money into a commode. A commode, of course, being a chest of drawers from France, circa 1750.

Continue reading

New York’s Transit Museum

When people think about the New York City museums they love to take their kids to, usually the same places come up: the Museum of Natural History, the Met, MoMA, the Children’s Museum. Indeed, my girls love all these too. What’s not to love. But one of our favorite museums, one that’s smaller and not as well known, is the New York Transit Museum. Located in Downtown Brooklyn, it is off the beaten path, away from the tourists and crowds. Which in many ways is a good thing, because almost every time we’ve been there we’ve practically felt like we’ve had the place to ourselves. No crowds = happy kids.

The Transit Museum is located in what used to be an old subway station. In fact, finding the museum for the first time can be difficult – I literally did think the entrance was a subway entrance and not the museum itself. I hear that’s common. Once you enter it, however, you’re taken into the underground world of everything transit, including old subway trains, buses, and trolleys. Kids love to run around and try their hand at “driving” one of the buses or hopping on and walking up and down one of the trains. There are many of them actually, making the museum deceivingly much larger than one would think upon entering. In fact, it is the largest museum in the United States devoted to urban public transportation history. Who knew?







The museum has a variety of exhibits, including a popular one on the building of the 100 year-old NYC subway system, as well as highly interactive exhibits, such as “On the Streets”, which focuses on NYC’s trolleys and buses. With all the interactive activities the museum offers, there is plenty for the kids to do. What child does not like trains, trolleys and buses? It is also, simply, a place to take your children on a rainy day (the last two days in the New York area saw rain and clouds straight through, which prompted me to write this) and let them walk and run around. Though I probably shouldn’t say “run”, as they discourage that, but you get the point. An interesting place where your kids will both learn something as well as stretch their legs on a day you would otherwise be cooped up inside. And the parents love it just as much.

The New York Transit Museum is a really neat, under the radar museum, not to mention with an awesome gift shop! We love it there so much that we even had my older daughter’s birthday party there years back. And at $7 for adults and $5 for kids 2+, it’s a no-brainer. Next time the weather is not cooperating and you need to entertain your little ones, you know where to go.


This article was originally published on fifi + hop (Travel and Adventure, with Kids)  and has been republished by GoodLife Report by permission of fifi + hop.

Nautical By Nature

The nautical theme is all the rage again this season and now you can master the look in a legitimate way. Ella Vickers, Second Wind Sails and Sea Bags are all making stylish tote bags from recycled and reclaimed sails. Continue reading

The Musts of the Modern Man

What makes the modern man; what are the constituent parts? The equation, if you will. It can be a heavily loaded question and, of course, the ideal changes with the idealist, but there have to be a few fundamental basics. Matt Moore, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and author of “Have Her Over for Dinner: A Gentleman’s Guide to Classic, Simple Meals“, and the Double R. Ranch take on the weighty matter of what it takes to be a modern, post-Millennial man. The answers may be something of a surprise Continue reading

The Business of Cards

Business cards are not created equal. Whether it’s a standard 3.5 inch by 2 inch piece of paper or an origami fold-out that reveals your company name in reverse print, business cards showcase you and your company’s personality. Continue reading

You’ve Come to the Rijks Place

Will Ferrell recently visited Amsterdam in character as Ron Burgundy. In a series of sketches filmed for the MTV Europe Music Awards, the egotistical reporter from the Anchorman movies toured the city’s seedier side. Burgundy biked around De Wallen with Daft Punk, found himself in a window in the Red Light District and made the mistake of ordering a brownie in one of Amsterdam’s most famous coffee shops. Continue reading

A Perfect Fit

In May, menswear retailer Bonobos opened their second guideshop in New York City at 35 Crosby St (the online retailer has additional outposts in Austin, Bethesda, Boston, Chicago, Georgetown and San Francisco). Continue reading

The Casual Sartorialist

Couture is dead. At least that’s what women with too much time and money are saying about the practice of having often ridiculous-looking high-fashion clothing custom made for them. That’s OK, because bespoke clothing (i.e. handmade garments constructed from a pattern specific to an individual customer) and made-to-measure clothing for men is alive and well. Although most bespoke and made-to-measure tailors such as those on London’s famous Savile Row specialize in business attire or formal wear, a growing number of custom-made casual clothing options exist for men.

Michael Andrews Bespoke is housed in a cute, subterranean, appointment-only shop on a hip street on New York City’s Lower East Side. CEO Michael Mantegna opened the shop in 2006 to fill a gap in the bespoke market. The prices for quality bespoke clothing have traditionally been so high that, by the time anyone could afford to pay them, their chief fashion worries had become hiding excessive paunch and sending reassuring signals to shareholders or high-powered clients. Fashion forward was out of the picture. Michael Andrews specializes in suits and shirts, weaving high-quality Italian fabrics into chic garments for a younger clientele. In addition to more formal offerings, you can also commission the perfect lightweight clothes, such as short sleeve shirts and shorts, to help you look dapper while drinking on a porch in June or meeting with new economy creative types who don’t trust guys in suits. Patterns are made by hand, unlike other bespoke houses that use computer programs. Clothes utilize single-needle stitching. Michael Andrews has a number of fabrics available from mills such as Vitale Barberis and Dormeuil that are great for casual shirts and pants, from traditional seersucker to linen. Mantegna says that Michael Andrews has recently seen a number of orders for corduroy suits—these always look good, and can actually be worn in summer if ordered with light enough fabric. And customers always have the choice of exceptionally light Egyptian cottons. Michael Andrews has three collections, the most expensive of which is entirely hand-stitched in New York (the other two are stitched in Shanghai). Clothes take from five to 12 weeks to complete. 

Would it be ironic to order a custom-made, fitted flannel shirt to wear to a Pearl Jam concert? At 20 Peacocks, a men’s boutique, also on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it may be possible. The shop specializes in affordable and hip custom-made shirts, with many fun, casual fabrics available. Shirts start at about $100, making it cheap enough for a fun indulgence, especially if you want to order something a little eccentric. All work is done overseas.

For those who want something even more casual, custom-made jeans may be the answer. Major denim purveyors such as Levi’s have offered these at times, but Ernest Sewn, in Chelsea, is one of the better denim stores (Ernest Sewn’s custom denim program has been temporarily discontinued while the store moves some of its operations to Los Angeles, but it will be offered again beginning this summer, with a one-month turnaround for $400-500). 

Custom-made jeans are not exactly bespoke. Denim itself conforms to the body as jeans are worn in; this doesn’t need to be done with stitching. So, ordering custom-made jeans is a little bit more like designing a kitchen or a car interior than it is like buying a bespoke suit—building a pair of jeans from the ground up is all about choosing the details, from the pockets to creative stitching, and, of course, the denim. Japanese denim is currently in fashion, and Ernest Sewn sells a lot of selvedge, which can be hard, rough stuff before it’s broken in, but is rewarding and long-lasting once it is. Of course, light, airy denims are available for those looking for summer-specific jeans. All work is done in the U.S. 

What about the feet? You’ll be glad to know that cobblers still exist. Vogel Boots in SoHo has been making custom-made shoes since 1879. Your first pair may cost a hefty $1,300, but nothing is more comfortable or durable. Although the price dictates that the majority of Vogel’s clientele are middle-aged or older, co-owner Jack Lynch says that the store has seen a spike in younger customers since introducing the option of extremely handsome, Camper-style casual shoes to complement their more formal options. Their quality is unparalleled. How much does Vogel care about your shoes?  For one thing, they only use French calfskin, because, as Lynch explains, “In France, they eat a lot of veal, so the animals are very small and they don’t use barbed wire, which means we are able to get a supple, tighter grain that’s clean, without barbed wire marks.” All work is done in New York with a 12 to 14 week turnaround.



Phyllis Dooney

Just because most people can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not important. Women have known this for years. A well dressed man isn’t a well dressed man until he upgrades his unmentionables. After all, what woman wants to remove a man’s elegant bespoke outfit only to find a natty pair of childlike boxers underneath?


Bespoke boxers, you say? Yes, even underwear can be custom made to your size and design specifications. Back in the early 20th century when boxer shorts first left the bloody, sweaty ring, most men had them specially made. Today, bespoke boxers are a dying art form but several fashion houses, including Lorenzini, still painstakingly craft them.


Lorenzini began making men’s shirts, pajamas and nightshirts in Brianza, Italy, in 1920. Ninety years later, the business is still family run and remains at the forefront of bespoke tailoring, crafting men’s shirts and pajamas as well as boxers, and clothing for women. Like Lorenzini’s other bespoke items, their boxers are meant to fit you like a glove but allow ease of movement. Made of Egyptian or Sea-Island cotton, each boxer has an elastic waistband, a double Australian mother-of-pearl buttoned-front closure, and is artfully tailored to remove excess fabric from the seat. Prices start at $250 a pair with a three-pair minimum. Lorenzini does not have a U.S. showroom but Barneys NY takes care of special orders.

The clothes make the man, and this feels particularly true when a man has made the clothes.

—David Dames