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Mirabeau en Provence's Vibrant Rosé

Two crisp, refreshing options from the French winery

by David Graver in Food + Drink on 30 July 2014

Mirabeau, Provence, Rose, Winemaking, Wines, France

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Rosé consumption has reached a fever pitch—and rightfully so, as there's a beautiful ease to its modern elegance and a gentleness in the way it complements many meals. But with the surge in demand, there's now a market flooded with options, and selecting the right one can become a bewildering process. Thankfully there is Mirabeau Wine—now debuting in the US—and its two stunning rosé options: the Classic (2013) and the Pure, neither of which will break the bank. The former is a heartier, more gastronomic delight in the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes—delivering a deep salmon hue and a robust red fruit flavor. The latter, a Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino blend, gracefully incorporates florals, citrus and even white peach. It's an ideal aperitif that holds up long into the night.

Mirabeau's founder, Stephen Cronk, moved his family from London to Cotignac, France in 2009, with a view in mind to craft a rosé that truly reflected the sensations of the region. Cronk pulled together an expert team of winemakers and partnered with the finest vineyards, and Mirabeau turned out to be the ideal result. It was an actualization of a dream and that magnificence is evident. As rosé continues to win over fans, it will remain difficult to find one better at this price point.

Those in the UK and Germany can purchase Mirabeau's rosé online, with same day delivery available in select locations. For residents of the US, Mirabeau sells online, with delivery in 39 states—where the Classic sells for $15 and the Pure for $22.

Images by Hans Aschim

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Word of Mouth: The Sands of Ko Samui

A quick guide to the major beaches comprising this idyllic Thai island

by CH Contributor in Travel on 30 July 2014

Asia, Beaches, Holidays, Sand, Thailand, Travel, Word of Mouth, Ko Samui

by Jennifer Miller

Any trip to Thailand should include some time spent at one of the country's incredible beaches, which are known for their magazine-worthy shorelines packing fine white sand, cerulean water and luscious palm trees. Thailand's beaches are an ideal escape from the heat and bustle of Bangkok, offering quiet havens and cafes cooking fresh Pad Thai just an hour outside of the capital city.

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But many people end up gravitating toward the popular island of Phuket, which is not only overly crowded, but also has the potential for heavy spring and summer rains. Instead of following the masses, head to the sandy shores of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, which offers a variety of relaxing beaches for any budget. To help navigate the small island's major beaches, below is an in-depth look at the sands comprising this picturesque holiday destination.

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Chaweng Beach

Marvelous white sand, stunning blue water and $8 massages are at the heart of Chaweng Beach on the northeastern part of the island. But as Samui's busiest town, Chaweng is also home to a pulsating nightlife and seemingly non-stop dance music, which may be bothersome if you're not there for the party.

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Chaweng's northern tip is the quietest area to stay in (although the bass never entirely disappears), and is less commercial than the main part of town. The Chaweng Regent Beach Resort is decidedly one of the more relaxing locales, and a seawall prevents waves from reaching the shore adding to the mellow atmosphere.

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Choeng Mon Beach

A small crescent-shaped beach at the island’s northwestern tip, Choeng Mon’s cove-like geography makes it feel a little like a lakeside retreat. The sand is second to Chaweng’s; much of it is fine, white and dotted with marine plants that have washed ashore. Hotels span the upscale to the budget-minded, and many of them offer on-the-beach dining options for visitors as well as guests.

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The adjacent small town has a distinctly non-touristy feel, with locally owned restaurants and small shops. This is the best bet for peace and quiet and generally terrific sand, but not for waves and open ocean. And with many of the beach restaurants offering two-for-one happy hour cocktails, unwinding is the ultimate activity at Choeng Mon Beach.

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Bophut Beach

Located west of Choeng Mon, the sand at Bophut Beach can be a little rocky, requiring a few more (million) years of wave-wear to suit human feet. The ocean view is full of boats—sail and speed—that ferry visitors to snorkeling and diving trips in nearby Ang Thong Marine Park and Koh Tao island. The dive culture means small guesthouses rather than large resorts, and has helped preserve the charming fisherman’s village bordering the sand.

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The village features preserved 19th century wooden shop houses, water-view bars and small boutiques. Friday nights feature a “Walking Street” in which merchants line up outside to sell delicious—and scrumptiously cheap—street food. The neighboring town of Mae Nam is less crowded and has a locals-oriented walking street while the sand there is considerably softer, though less fine than at Chaweng.

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Lamai Beach

Located to the south of Chaweng, Lamai Beach is the second largest beach on Ko Samui, featuring a large selection of big resorts and smaller hotels. Both the beach and the adjacent town are less frantic than Chaweng and the blue ocean rolls into the shore in unimpeded glory. The sand is less smooth, however. Whiter than Bophut and less pebbly, it’s still sometimes difficult to walk on for long stretches.

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At the tippy-tail end of Lamai, there are two well-known landmarks; "grandfather" and "grandmother" rocks, which bear a striking resemblance to male and female genitalia. (If you’re brave, you can send a post card of the formations home to your grandparents.) After the requisite photo opportunity, head down the road past the end of the beach to Sabeinglae, a terrific seafood restaurant that cooks up fresh-caught fish for tourists and locals alike.

Images by Jennifer Miller for Cool Hunting

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Asiyami Gold's A.Au Collection

Blending influences from Nigeria to America, the new bold range is for everyday wear

by CH Contributor in Style on 30 July 2014

Asiyami Gold, Atlanta, Fashion, Nigeria, Women's Style, Africa

by Chérmelle Edwards

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Spending much of her childhood in Nigeria and then moving to Atlanta, Georgia, designer Asiyami "Gold" Wekulom injects traditions from both cultures into her work. For her label Asiyami Gold, she blends aesthetics from Nigerian prints and Ankara fabrics with the sensibility of the American woman. The recently released collection "A.Au" encapsulates that concept perfectly with loud patterns, bright colors and subtle lines. "Since I lived in Nigeria for the first 12 years of my life and I’ve spent the last 12 here, everything for me is half and half. I am both of these places and both are part of my culture," Wekulom tells CH.

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Earlier this year, a friend traveled to Wekulom's hometown of Nigeria and brought back textiles that were exactly what she needed to spawn the "A.Au" range. “I was so blessed. My culture plays a role in everything and in all aspects of myself. He knew me and he knew what I liked. Right now, I like mixing prints and solids and playing with patterns," she explains of the serendipitous trip.

The collection—though bold and bright—was intentionally designed with simplicity. "When you look at African clothing back home there’s lot of puffy, huge sleeves, big fishtails and you can look like an astronaut. That clothing is traditional, even vintage, but it’s not ready-to-wear. These prints already speak for themselves so you don’t need to add extra elements to make it more than what it is," she says.

When it came to facilitating her design process, Wekulom admits she isn’t wealthy in the talent of sketching or pattern-making, so she relies on others for the initial phases of her production process. "Sometimes when I go to sleep, I dream about things. I’m not a sketcher so I don’t sketch," she says. But by drawing what she can and explaining details to a professional pattern-maker, Wekulom's ideas are translated from abstract into realities.

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Her jumping off point is always from the textiles—their patterns, colors, textures. Sewing all the pieces by hand, Wekulom has found herself working through the night; sometimes making up to five items in a day. "I’m very determined. When I go, I just go. I don’t sleep, I don’t stop; I stay up until it is done. I want to get to that place where I say, 'Oh my god, this is it.'"

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Getting to that stage doesn't come easily. For example, during the making of "A.Au," the designer struggled with her non-traditional production process when attempting to make a bell sleeve fall with just the right movement. She explains, "I do intense visioning, so the mental images I create, can translate into a physical expression. For the bell sleeve I was reconstructing until it was the perfect sleeve. And, the end product is beautiful. I just love beautiful things."

The Asiyami Gold "A.Au" collection is now available online, with prices starting at $50.

Lookbook images courtesy of Asiyami Gold, portrait by Chérmelle Edwards

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