Last Updated on July 21, 2014
Adding a custom bar to your home is a fun and efficient way to entertain friends and family, bringing value to your home. Granite Transformations offers creative design ideas to create the perfect bar for your home with the use of top-shelf materials.
With all the trendy new cocktails on the bar scene today, stocking your bar can be a bit challenging. Experts agree that sticking to the basic spirits for traditional libations and adding a few flavored ones for a fun twist on old favorites is the perfect balance for a well-stocked bar.
Here are some suggestions on what to buy and have on hand for unexpected drop-in guests or a full-scale summer soiree:
• Alcohol – On the rocks or straight up? Depending on your preferences and budget, you may want to invest in top-shelf brands of whiskey, scotch, vodka, rum, gin or tequila when enjoying your drink straight up. For mixed drinks, opting for a less expensive brand is a respectable choice. Rounding out the list, you may want to include sherry (dry and sweet), vermouth (dry and sweet), flavored liqueurs, brandy, bourbon, champagne, beer and your favorite red and white wines. Be daring and try one of the multitudes of flavored vodkas on the market. It’s a great way to experiment with new cocktails and a fun way to introduce your guests to something new.
• Mixers – Offering a variety of mixers is a great way for your guests to create their favorite mixed drinks. Be sure to include the basics (like club soda, tonic, soft drinks, sparkling and still waters) and assorted juices (like tomato, orange, pineapple and cranberry).
• Garnishes and Flavorings – Putting the finishing touches on your drink can make all the difference. Freshly cut lemons, limes and pineapple are a great way to add a splash of freshness to any drink. For a more sophisticated touch, cocktail onions and olives for martinis, hot pepper sauce for Bloody Marys and coarse salt for rimming a margarita glass take any drink from fun to fabulous.
• Bar Tools and Essentials – Having the right tools takes the guess work out of playing bartender. Be sure to have a bottle opener, cocktail shaker or pitcher, corkscrew, cutting board and knife, drink stirrers, ice bucket and a jigger. Keep a dish towel on hand and have plenty of beverage napkins and coasters. A blender is a must if you’re planning on serving frozen drinks.
• Glassware – Serving cocktails in the appropriate glass makes the drink even more special. When purchasing your glassware, be sure to include the basic styles of glasses (like low-ball and hi-ball, pilsner, martini, red and white wine, champagne, shot and liqueur). For specialty drinks, such as margaritas and brandy, you may want to consider purchasing a smaller quantity if those are drinks you don’t indulge in often.
• Ice – Invest in a good quality ice bucket (and possibly consider buying two). Running out of ice is never a good thing, so plan ahead and stock up!
Last Updated on July 14, 2014
Close your eyes and imagine the feeling of a warm salty breeze blowing through your hair, powder-fine sand beneath your feet, and the soft crashing sound of waves on the surf. We all have our own visions of paradise and tranquility, but there’s just something about the beach that brings peace and serenity and beckons us from our busy day-to-day lives.
Are you ready for the ultimate beach escape? Here is a list of ten beaches that have been voted to take your breath away:
Anse Lazio; Praslin Island, Seychelles
Located northeast of Madagascar in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Anse Lazio sparkles with clear, pure water and offers great snorkeling and swimming. It is known for its wide horizon line, which attracts tourists from the Praslin’s area and beyond.
Lanikai Beach; Hawaii, US
Situated within Kailua on the windward coast of Oahu, Hawaii, this small, half-mile long beach has consistently been ranked among the best beaches in the world. It is a popular spot for photo shoots and is recognized as being the place to watch the moonrise over Mokuluas.
Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach); Zakynthos, Greece
Known as the “The Shipwreck” (as it is home to the wreck of the ship Panagiotis), Navagio Beach is located on an isolated sandy cove on Zakynthos Island, Greece. It is defined by its sheer limestone cliffs, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water, and it attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is known as one of the most famous and highly photograped beaches in Greece.
Eagle Beach; Aruba, Caribbean
Located in Oranjestad, Aruba, Eagle Beach has been rated one of the best beaches in the world, but take caution, it is one of the two beaches in Aruba that allow nudity.
Grace Bay Club (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos)
This 12-mile stretch of soft-white sand has been recognized as the number one beach in the Caribbean and the number two beach in the world. Some of the best resorts in the Caribbean are located on Grace Bay Beach. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing day exploring for starfish, sand dollars and marine life, or enjoy family time seeking other aquatic adventures.
Pink Sands Beach; Bahamas, Caribbean
Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas is renowned for its pale pink sand, with the beach spanning three miles long and 50-100 feet wide. It is considered as one of the top pink sand beaches in the world. Harbour Island also boasts one of the top dive sites in the world, known as “Current Cut Dive.” This beach is home to fine cuisine, family-style restaurants, deep sea fishing and surf fishing. Day excursions to nearby Eleuthera and Spanish Wells are available for shopping in Dunmore Town.
Whitehaven Beach; Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Named the top Eco-Friendly Beach in the world by CNN.com, Whitehaven Beach is Queensland’s cleanest beach, prohibiting dogs and cigarette smoking. It is known for its white sands and consists of 98% pure silica which gives it its white color. The sand doesn’t retain heat, making it comfortable for a barefoot walk on a hot day.
Radhanagar Beach; Havelock Island, India
Considered one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia, Radhanagar Beach is known for its unique color combination of the greenish-blue colored sea, complemented by the stark white sandy beach. Tourists enjoy riding bicycles on the beach and resting in beach-side cottages.
Siesta Key Public Beach; Florida, US
Winner of the world’s finest, whitest sand, Siesta Key Public Beach extends half a mile along the most pristine white sands in the world. Located on the Florida West Coast, the pure white quartz sand is pulverized into a fine powder. Even under the hottest subtropical sun, it remains cool to the touch, making it one of the best walking beaches in the USA.
Bamboo Island; Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Bamboo Island is one of a group of small islands located about six miles off the coast of Sihanoukville City in southern Cambodia.
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Last Updated on July 14, 2014
The waters off the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy will be enchantingly illuminated beginning June 3 through November 23, 2014, as the installation of Heinz Mack’s ‘The Sky Over Nine Columns’ is unveiled to the public at the Church of San Giorgio. The structural ensemble consists of nine symmetrical columns, each standing 24.5 feet tall and covered with a golden mosaic of 800,000 tesserae bearing the sky. The tesserae, or small pieces of 24k gold-leaf Trend mosaic tiles, are used as instruments to reflect the light of the sun and moon onto the water. German artist Heinz Mack designed the golden mosaic as a tribute to the city of Venice, exemplifying the long tradition of local craftsmanship and early cultural relations between Orient and Occident. It is estimated over 15 million visitors will experience this amazing installation in Venice over the next five months.
Trend Group, the parent company of Granite Transformations, is proud to be an integral part of this monumental artistic installation. For homeowners who are thinking about a kitchen or bath renovation ¬– you too, can have a piece of history in your own homes. Granite Transformations uses the same exclusive product in their backsplashes (although the golden tesserae were especially designed for this project). Let our team of experienced design specialists help you design the perfect kitchen or bathroom for your home. Contact Granite Transformations today for a free in-home design consultation.
For more information on ‘The Sky Over Nine Columns,’ please visit: mackinvenice.com.
Last Updated on July 7, 2014
Blending the artistry of an ancient world with a modern twist has defined mosaic artist Todd Michael as one of the most sought after mosaic designers in South Florida. As a self-trained ‘mosaicist’ (a designer of mosaics), Todd has been transforming spaces into permanent works of art with mastery and beauty for the past 15 years.
“The process begins with my imagination as it comes to life after studying the space,” Todd explained. “It has to be a perfect fit, since mosaic installations become absolute and permanent.”
His latest work of art, ‘The View from Delilah,’ began in January when he was commissioned to design a space in the grand foyer of one of South Florida’s magnificent homes on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ft. Lauderdale. Todd first began translating his idea into an artistic composite, which was drawn to scale and then transferred and used as a full-size template. He then hand-placed 82,000 hand-cut pieces of Trend Mosaic Tile onto a flexible piece of mesh, ensuring that all of the glass tiles were in place, secured and ready for transport to the location. “The installation phase is just as important as the design phase,” Todd said. “This is where the craftsmanship comes into play.” Todd explains how precision, placement and the use of quality materials will ensure a flawless installation and guarantee a lifetime of beauty set in glass. “There are no shortcuts in mosaic,” Todd said.
This large-scale project took two months to complete, with over 200 hours dedicated to the meticulous preparation and execution of the design. The end result is a magnificent 10′ x 15′ mountainous backdrop of a Mediterranean scene with a spacious terrace surrounded by native fauna. “I especially enjoyed creating ‘The View from Delilah,’” Todd explained. “I tapped several artistic factors to design the perfect balance of textures, color and flow.”
Todd says the use of Trend Mosaic Tiles in his designs is the cornerstone of his creations. “Trend mosaics offer me an artist’s palette of beautifully cut tiles in a variety of colors and textures that capture the beauty of gemstones.” In a time where being ‘green and clean’ is at the forefront of an environmentally-friendly world, Todd is proud to tell his customers that Trend Mosaics are made from up to 80% recycled materials. “I’m an artist who paints in glass,” Todd explained. “It’s a great feeling to know I’m creating timeless art with the best products on the market today.”
For more information on Todd Michael and his work, please visit http://www.mosaicsbytodd.com. You can also find exciting updates and posts on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mosaicsbytodd.