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    THE INDEPENDENT LIFE

    Win Your Wedding in NYC

    Have an amazing wedding proposal? If the answer is YES then you could win your dream wedding in NYC. Share with us your proposal story and you could win a complete wedding package, which includes everything but the city hall ceremony itself! In 500 words or less, we want to hear about your wedding proposal story. From proposals on Mount Everest to a cross word puzzle “will you marry me?” there is no proposal too big or too small to be considered. Contest ends March 31, 2014. To enter please visit http://a.pgtb.me/L0bMXn

    02-20-2014 15:46,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, Special Offers, TRIBECA, NYC


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    #Sochi

    We’ve fully embraced the Winter Olympic spirit-from medal counting and cheering on our favorite teams (U-S-A!) to studying the art of curling & ski jumping we’re enjoying the games thus far. For the duration of the games every time the US wins a gold medal guest’s in A.G.B can enjoy a complimentary round of prosecco or gold medal shots. Be sure not to miss our sochi inspired cocktail which highlights caviar and vodka-we give it a perfect 10.

    We’ve also brought a bit of Sochi to DC. Our #Sochi2014 worthy ice luge has been a huge hit and has inspired it’s own Graham inspired Winter Olympic sport.

    02-10-2014 22:57,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, Food & Wine, GEORGETOWN, DC, INTERESTS


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    Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

    There are few places in the U.S. where one can say a popular pastime is Whale Watching but in Santa Barbara the opportunity for spotting this graceful marine mammal abound. There are over 27 different types of whales and dolphins that can be spotted off the coast of Santa Barbara. There are two main whale watching seasons in Santa Barbara. From February to early April, California Grey Whales are prominent. From May to September, look for Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Humpback Whales.
    Below is a list of local businesses that offer popular whale watching tours:

    Condor Express
    301 W Cabrillo Blvd

    (805) 882-0088

    Santa Barbara Sailing Center
    133 Harbor Way
    (805) 962-2826

    SEA Landing
    301 W Cabrillo Blvd
    (805) 963-3564

    02-07-2014 19:12,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, Green, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, SANTA BARBARA, CA, Sporting Life


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    Hiking in Santa Barbara

    Breathtaking, spectacular and gorgeous are just a view words to describe the views you will encounter on the numerous hiking trails that abound in what many call the Riviera of the US. A popular and relatively short (.80 miles) hike leads to the gorgeous 80 foot Nojoqui Falls. The 20 minute hike begins in Nojoqui Falls Parks located just off the 101 Freeway north of the Gaviota Tunnel between Santa Barbara and Buellton. The park offers ample picnic space, BBQ pits and ball fields.

    Another relatively easy hike is one that visits the Gaviota Hot Springs in Gaviota State Park. The trail begins just off the 101 Freeway in Gaviota State Park and is 1 mile in length. Follow the winding water source to the blue sulfer spring.

    For wind caves with spectacular ocean views hike the Gaviota Wind Caves in Gaviota State Park. The hike to the wind caves is a relatively easy 2.5 miles and you can enjoy breathtaking ocean views along the way.
    Another popular hike is The Cold Spring Loop (1.8-mile), tucked in the mountains behind Montecito off Mountain Drive. The trail begins on the east side of the creek, navigate your way through, quiet streams and brush-covered hills. Don’t miss the short detour to Vista Point for a panoramic view of Santa Barbara’s stunning coastline.

    02-07-2014 15:43,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, SANTA BARBARA, CA, Sporting Life


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    Restaurants & Lounges in Santa Barbara

    From mobile food trucks to fine dining there are a host of culinary delights to be found in Santa Barbara. Local flavors are inspired by the mission figs, meyer lemons and prawns (to name a few) which mark many of the signature dishes amongst the culinary landscape. We love the warm meets homey vibe of Julienne a local bistro by a husband and wife pair (Chef Justin West and his wife Emma). Local, artisanal and downright delicious are just a few adjectives that describe the meals served at this cozy bistro (138 East Canon Perdido; 805-845-6488; restaurantjulienne.com).

    For no thrills deliciousness, we love the Burger Bus. This Santa Barbara based food truck serves hormone free grass fed burgers and has been in business since May 2009. Locations can vary so check their website to find out where this retro bus will pop-up next. Loyal patrons claim it’s the best burger they’ve ever had and our favorite hands down is the CB&J. Served on soft ciabatta bread and with housemade pickle and onion chips one cannot go wrong with this Santa Barbara staple.

    For award winning wine country cuisine check out Bouchon (9 West Victoria Street, 805-730-1160. Locally sourced ingredients paired with local wine varietals make for a memorable dining experience.

    To unwind our favorite lounges include (Eos Lounge 500 Anacapa St. ,805- 564-2410) and Blush Restaurant and Lounge (630 State St. 805-957-1300). Eos Lounge offers an outdoor patio where one can take in the Santa Barbara weather, cuddle by the outdoor fire place and enjoy top visiting DJs. Blush Restaurant and Lounge is a staple on the lounge scene in Santa Barbara. Enjoy their extensive and creative list which includes a well-executed Cotton Candy martini.

    02-07-2014 15:34,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, Food & Wine, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, SANTA BARBARA, CA


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    Funk Zone

    A trip to Santa Barbara isn’t complete without stopping by the Funk Zone. It seems as though every city these days has an enclave of hip artists, tastemakers and stars of the creative class – Santa Barbara is no different. These types converge in the Funk Zone, and the result is a neighborhood brimming with galleries, hip cafes and microbreweries.

    The art scene has a prominent presence in the Funk Zone and inspires the eclectic vibe of this neighborhood. A must see in the Funk Zone is The Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCA Santa Barbara). As the premier venue for contemporary art between Los Angeles and San Francisco, MCA Santa Barbara is viewed as a major player in the national and international art scene. In addition to having over 27,000 works of art on display, past exhibits have included work by icons such as Degas, Picasso, Rothko and Van Gogh. The museum also curates modern art, including more progressive and cutting edge artists as well.

    Art in the Funk Zone isn’t limited only to the contemporary museum; art walks are hosted on a regular basis and are a fantastic way to experience the neighborhood on foot. The Santa Barbara Art Foundry brings art to life and offers tours every five minutes seven days a week.

    From wine to local distilleries, there are ample opportunities to learn more about the local winemaking and distillery culture. The Urban Wine Trail is perfect for the wine lover looking to become more familiar with the wine landscape in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. This self-guided tour offers an opportunity to explore tasting rooms all within blocks of each other. If you are fascinated by the distillery process, don’t miss Cutler’s Artisan Spirit, a small local distillery that offers regular tastings.

    02-06-2014 22:37,

    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, INTERESTS, Museums, Neighborhoods, SANTA BARBARA, CA


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    We Heart Dogs

    With the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show around the corner (Feb 10-11 at Madison Square Garden) we thought it fitting to celebrate by putting your dog in the spotlight. Have you always thought that you and your dog should take your “show” on the road? We want to see it! Upload a picture of your dog and you could win an overnight stay at the Hotel 373 Fifth Avenue. Our “expert” panel of judges will vote and declare the winner. To enter simply like us on facebook and visit to upload your picture http://a.pgtb.me/FmMkf4.

    01-23-2014 14:48,

    CATEGORIES: INTERESTS, MIDTOWN, NYC, Neighborhoods, Special Offers


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    Ugly Holiday Sweater Photo Contest

    The holiday season conjures up many things, but for us here at Capitol Hill Hotel one of the time-honored traditions we hold dear is that of the Ugly Holiday Sweater.  You’ve seen it, you know it well, and perhaps you even own one! We’ve noticed a host of Ugly Christmas Sweater Holiday parties popping up in many cities and we wanted in on the fun. Tag you and your friends in a picture of your ugliest holiday sweater and you could win an overnight stay at Capitol Hill Hotel, simply tag the picture #CHHuglysweater and you’re entry is submitted.

    Submit a photo of yourself or your friends, in the ugliest holiday sweater via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, for your chance to win an overnight stay at our great hotel. May the ugliest sweater win.

    Please submit your entries by January 1, 2014. No purchase necessary.

    12-24-2013 15:00,

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    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, CAPITOL HILL, DC, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, Special Offers


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    Fashion for Autism

    Amidst the busy downtown Tribeca scene, Duane Street Hotel is taking the time to promote social awareness in New York City through its collaboration with socially responsible fashion website Cultures of Love, CONSCIOUS Magazine and Spectrum Designs Foundation. Together, these innovators have created a fashion program that provides charitable donations to autism-focused organizations along with a New York City travel guide which identifies businesses in Tribeca that give back to the community. When you stay at our downtown boutique Tribeca hotel you can help create a socially conscious future.

    T-shirts $25 // Totes $30

    Through Duane Street Hotel’s Fashion For Autism program Duane Street Hotel is offering exclusive limited-edition t-shirts and tote bags (pictured below) which are available for purchase in all 43 of Duane Street Hotel’s newly renovated rooms. The t-shirts and tote bags, designed by Cultures of Love and Design Industry 5, feature iconic Tribeca and NYC images and are printed by Spectrum Designs Foundation, a Long Island-based non-profit apparel company that is the first industry organization to fully engage individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and similar disabilities in all aspects of production. The apparel is eco-friendly, fair trade, and printed in the United States.

    To complement the fashion initiative, the socially conscious New York City travel guide provides Duane Street Hotel guests with exclusive special offers, discounts and promotions to local socially responsible businesses. These promotions include an organic conditioning treatment with Hale Salon, fair trade coffee with Bikini Bar Organic Café, eco shopping at Grow NYC, all American brews with Manhattan Proper and an NYC art experience at ONE Art Space.

    For every bottle of Evian purchased in our guest rooms we donate $1 to the autism charity of choice which this quarter is Spectrum Designs Foundation.  And our socially conscious efforts don’t stop there-through our Change for Change program guests place their loose change in an envelope located in their guest room and these funds are donated towards the autism charity of choice, Spectrum Designs Foundation.

    11-21-2013 16:09,

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    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, Shopping & Style, TRIBECA, NYC


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    Shopping Bliss

    ‘Tis the season…to shop! M street is known for its plethora of shopping options from local favorites with cult followings like Hu’s Shoes to more mainstream outfitters like Cusp there is no shortage of fashion options in Georgetown. Whether shopping for the holidays or just browsing the latest styles, our Shopping Bliss Package offers everything you need for a memorable shopping experience.

    With The Graham Georgetown’s Shopping Bliss Package, you receive:

    • A local map, marked with the finest shops of Georgetown and complete with special discounts at select shops
    • A shopping valet, who will retrieve your packages from the stores of purchase, and place them in your suite or vehicle
    • A warm toddy or specialty cocktail from A.G.B. Restaurant
    • A private 25 minute foot massage from the comfort of your luxury suite
    • Complimentary valet parking daily
    • All-inclusive American Breakfast for two daily

    Shopping has never been more relaxing and luxurious! To learn more click here.

    11-13-2013 15:54,

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    CATEGORIES: Blog Category, GEORGETOWN, DC, INTERESTS, Neighborhoods, Shopping & Style


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