Keep Calm and Hit the East Coast!

Summer Pleasures

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The summer is here at last. What matters for most us during these hot days is to find ourselves somewhere close to the sea – any sea! – or to look towards the ocean and to let ourselves free of all worries and concerns… even if it is only for a little while. Let’s face it: we are all so similar in our aim and target of being by the sea or by the ocean! Summer holidays may mean different things for each one of us, as for some summer holidays might be more important or significant than for others.

So many of us think of summer holidays in terms of lying peacefully under the hot sun, taking a dive once in a while, and also enjoying the refreshing drinks under the umbrellas! We like to swim a little bit, stare at all those beauties that are fully exposed around us – whether it is women in bikinis or the natural picturesque landscape. Others like to hit the beach bar that offers tequila shots and house music… loud music! Some like to read by the beach and others tend to become little children again by building little sandy castles on the shore along with their children.

But then again, are we all of us only relaxing and relaxed only when we go holidaying by the sea or the ocean? Well, maybe not all of us like to have it lazy and there might be some among us – summer fans – who cannot simply stop being dynamic and like to have fun in a more sporty manner. That’s why we have water sports! And by water sports I don’t necessarily mean only two racquets or one ball. By water sports I mean a number of totally different things: Jet Ski, water ski, sea biking, kitesurfing and of course, what else? Surfing itself!

To surf is to…

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… to be and to become! As it concerns “to be”, surfing is certainly a way of life, it is one might actually call lifestyle. And ‘to become’ means that one needs to make it as a surfer, which is not the easiest thing to do! To surf is to balance on the waves, to find your way to deal with the sea and its sometimes unpredictable ways… It takes a certain amount of energy, as you constantly have to try to do your best! I admit, I’m not the best man for the job, but some claim that this shouldn’t stop me – or you, or anyone else from trying! Surfing is cool, one might say… as it is all about keeping yourself cool and in good balance under the hot waves of sunshine.

Channel Islands 2013 East Coast Tour

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A fascinating event for surfers and all the fans of this sport takes place as we speak in the U.S.. Channel Islands, a prestigious surf boards manufacturer, organizes a tour along the West and East Coast of the U.S. where surfers can gather and together celebrate their passion for the sea and the sport. MINI is a proud sponsor of the East Coast Tour 2013 but this is does not come at all as a surprise. MINI has engaged itself into sport events over the years; it has a partnership with Burton snowboards and had been sponsoring all of their important events.

During the East Coast Tour MINI will also present its brand new MINIVan which is a MINI… still, it is a bit larger than usual. The MINI ClubVan is designed primarily for the commercial sector trying to bring some style in running the businesses, aiming to make a difference by simply adding on that cool and urban attitude that so many of us identify with. Instead of a car with no character, MINI invented the Van with the strong urban character to stand for the spirit that some of us might identify with. A cool thing to do, one might argue!

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Moreover, during the surfing festivities, MINI will try to convince the surfers on how useful the car can be for their purposes as well. The cars will be equipped with a surfboard roof rack for everyone who wishes to make an impressive entry to the beach along with his MINI and his/her favorite surf board of course! The East Coast Tour 2013 started at the 1st of June in Deerfield Beach, Florida and it will take place in seventeen different locations across the coast up until mid August.

So… the question remains: “to surf or not to surf”!? My answer would be “to surf” and not forget about the most important detail: to stay cool and have fun. Keep calm and surf on! In the end, it’s all about the balance and the attitude! Enjoy!

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My Mini

My Mini

Here are some pictures of a trip to North Carolina Deals Gap. The main attraction is US. Route 129. The road while only 11 miles long has 318 curves to provide an adrenaline fueled driving experience. The trip was part of the annual “Mini's on the Dragon.” The people, scenery, weather, and road were fantastic. If you have the opportunity schedule a drive on US 129 you won't be disappointed.
Also near the area is the Nantahala Outdoor Center providing many outdoor and whitewater activities.
A few pictures of my Mini Cooper Coupé the R-58.

 

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The MINI Life Ball Series

Life Ball, Vienna

What is it that matters most of all things in our lives? This is actually a question with as many answers as courageous people daring to take it as a challenge.  That because what makes the difference in our lives is doing things, is making things happen, acting for a good cause or in a positive direction. We spend our lives doing – or at least trying to do – what’s best for us and for all those persons who matter the most in our lives , such as family, friends etc. This is only natural and fair enough, one might argue.  However, it is precisely when we do something about and act in the direction of helping other peer humans – people we have never met personally and whose names we do not know, but who find themselves in deep trouble – that we, humans can be proud of our actions. This is the reason why charity matters; charity is about empathy and about making a point about the fact that we are not alone in this world.

Vienna’s Life Ball AIDS charity

The Life Ball is the biggest annual charity event in Europe in support of people with HIV or AIDS and it is also one of the world’s biggest charity events in general. It takes place in Vienna since 1993 and it is organized by the nonprofit organization AIDS LIFE, which was founded a year earlier. It is a big event that attracts much attention also due to the fact that many celebrities usually attend this charity event. Personalities such as Liza Minnelli, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Sharon Stone, and Heidi Klum among others have been attending this event over the years.  This year, notable people like the former President of the U.S. Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, the Hollywood actors Hilary Swank and Melanie Griffith, Fergie and Barbara Eden among others showed up at the Life Ball.

Naomi Campbell, Life Ball Vienna

Linda Evangelista – Life Ball

Elton John, Life Ball Vienna

The event opens each time with a big concert and includes a variety of fashion shows and fancy events that aim to also raise funds (aside from awareness) for an issue of public importance such as the fight against HIV and AIDS. It might be true that we have managed to decrease sufficiently the victims of this horrible disease in the West, even without discovering the cure for AIDS, but elsewhere, such as in Africa, AIDS continues to be a huge threat. The number of HIV deaths in the developing world is totally disheartening. I personally hope that things will only get better in the near future…

One of Life Ball’s most prestigious shows is the fashion show, which is organized each year by a different acclaimed fashion designer. This year, it was Roberto Cavalli’s turn to present to the world his talent and part of his responsibilities was to recreate a MINI, as it happens each year. MINI has long been an official sponsor of the Life Ball charity event and this year it presented a unique MINI Paceman as Cavalli himself envisioned it! The result was… a piece of gold! Cavalli decorated the MINI with gold elements inside and out in what came to be a shining and extravagant MINI Paceman… your MINI Paceman might not end up being decorated with gold but still, it is quite hard to resist to its charms and qualities…

Life Ball 2013, MINI Paceman

Roberto und Eva Cavalli

There are thirteen special edition MINI models that have been created so far and this contributed with more than half a million Euros for funding the fight against the terrible disease.  As a matter of fact, Roberto Cavalli’s golden version of the MINI Paceman broke all records: it was auctioned for 150.000 Euros, which will, of course, be donated to support the fight against AIDS. During the previous years, designers such as Donatella Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Testino, Franca Sozzani, the creative team of DSQUARED and Agent Provocateur (among others) have tried their best in presenting a unique and highly imaginative MINI car.

Mini designed by Katy Perry

My personal favorite is still the 2009 MINI Cabrio created by The Blonds, one of Hollywood’s fashion favorites. The design was inspired by Kate Perry herself, according to the creative team. I guess that any fashionista that respects herself/himself , but also the rather bitter issues concerning the world around us, would have been proud of such a MINI.  I wonder what next year’s edition will bring!

Best BMW Art Cars

What is it that makes us happy? I know what you might reply on that: love is what makes us all happy! And it might very well be true, love might be the key to happiness. When love knocks our door, we suddenly feel fulfilled and complete, life has a meaning and it all makes sense.
We are constantly searching for love, but at the same time we search and crave for other things that can make our everyday lives better. Take art, for example: we all, no matter our specific tastes, find great pleasure in art. It doesn’t matter if it is a painting hanged on the wall in a museum such as the Louvre in Paris or if it is just a pop song that we sing while taking a shower. It’s irrelevant if the art work or art product that manages to give us peace of mind is something which some describe as “high art” or just something much simpler and down to earth. Art brings a smile on our faces and is a treat for the soul; in the end, that’s all that matters…

Lichtenstein’s BMW, Tel Aviv Museum

Except from art, there are plenty of other things that make our everyday life more interesting and pleasing. Sports, cars, clothes are all essential elements in our modern lives. Supporting your favorite soccer team gives a meaning in your otherwise sometimes boring Sunday afternoon. But taking a road trip in your car can also make your day; most people love their cars and the freedom its gives to them. And buying clothes, well, we all feel like showing off with our brand new clothes every once in a while… So, I’m thinking: what better way to enhance your pleasure than combining two or more of these elements that make life happier!?
Let’s just pick one combination: mixing the pleasure of art with our genuine love for powerful cars. Yes, it’s quite possible: just take a look at some of the BMW art cars! It all started back in 1975, when artist Alexander Calder painted the first BMW car and the BMW 3.0 CSL in particular, in what came to be a whole series of unique art cars. Overall, a number of 17 BMW cars have been recreated up until this moment in what it seems by now a tradition for BMW. Some highlights will include:

Andy Warhol’s BMW M1

Warhol BMW M1

BMW M1 racing version by Andy Warhol, 1979

We couldn’t but have started with the vision of the “Pope of Pop”, Andy Warhol. It was back in 1979 when one of the most discussed and inspirational artist of our era decided to transform BMW M1, pimping it up in his own unique and always colorful, playful style. Warhol himself painted the car! In other words, he did take his job quite seriously! He tried to depict speed in his own ways and the result seems to be really impressive and imaginative, just like his entire creative vision in general, after all… Even if, apparently, Warhol’s creation is not for sale, other BMWs are and some might be just the starting point for your own creation. What would you say about checking for the latest BMW car finance offers and then see what you can do about your future car yourself!? Good luck there!

Roy Lichtenstein’s BMW 320i

BMW 320i racing version by Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein signs BMW 320i, 1977

Two years earlier than Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein had tried himself to transpose his highly imaginative style in a BMW car. The result was typical of Lichtenstein’s own creative world: a pop art car that looked like coming from a video game. If Warhol was the “Pope of Pop”, then Lichtenstein must have been something like its Cardinal!

David Hockney’s BMW 850 CSI

BMW Art Car by David Hockney, 1995

David Hockney paints BMW 850 CSi

Critically acclaimed as one of Britain’s most influential artists of the 20th century, David Hockney requires no introduction. Only last year he was appointed as member of the Order of Merit for his lifelong contribution to the world of arts and culture and that surely makes him a distinguishable citizen of the British society! As for the BMW 850 CSI that he designed, it will surely make it to the “Hall of Fame” of the BMW art cars!

Jeff Koon’s BMW M3 GT2

BMW M3 GT2 Art Car designed by Jeff Koons, 2010

Jeff Koons signs BMW M3 GT2 Art

Last, but not least, we have Jeff Koons – the highly controversial Jeff Koons, whom you either like or not. Some tag his works of art as kitsch, but some others like to remind them that his works sell almost like any other produced by artists still alive. One thing is for sure, though: Jeff Koons and his ingenuity and creative vision could not be contested. He seems to be the last artist on the list kindly asked to transform a BMW car. The work Koons has done with the BMW M3 GT2 surely didn’t disappointed those who love explosions or splashes of living colors on objects or things! For the love of art, that’s amazing!

Dispatches: A Bunderful Life

JerseyStyle Photography

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This past weekend, I read an article in the Financial Times about how The Bund in Shanghai is braced for redevelopment.

Reading the article made me think back to visiting Shanghai back at the end of 2010. As is my nature, I had to go revisit those images.

In all my travels, there have been two places that really rang “exotic” to me – Standing the the Chor Bazaar of Mumbai, India, and getting the chance to go to Shanghai. To me, “the mysteries of the Orient” were illustrated by what Shanghai was in my mind: dark, foggy streets filled with sailors, working girls and opium dens.

I can’t rightly say I found that but I greatly enjoyed Shangahi nonetheless. It’s such a classic old city that is being reborn every day.

After doing the work that we had to do, my first experience visiting The Bund was one…

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