Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bar Sheds: The Next New Thing!

Recently I ran across something really fun on Twitter and wanted to share it with you! Citing an article "Move Over Man Caves" by Caleb Houseknect in a website called Keg Works, wealth manager Bill Sullivan tweeted that Bar Sheds are among the next big things popping up on the market - and my imagination ran wild!

In my cloistered world of living among the rich, it seems that everyone has these amazing and elaborate outdoor kitchens; some small and intimate, others large enough to entertain hundreds of guests - requiring chefs, caterers, waiters and bartenders to accommodate the occasion. Here's a link to what I'm talking about.

But now there's something fun for all of us - a Bar Shed in your very own back yard - and it doesn't matter what income level you're in at the moment. It can be as elaborate as your budget allows, or just silly and fun, a reason to get out of the house and go outside. Here's a link to what's already out there, but you could probably design and build your own with a little help from Home Depot or Loews, right?

Of course, there might be issues with bitchy neighbors, barking dogs, and cops driving by if things get out of hand. But then, so what?

My cousin Celene and her partner Dan are way ahead of the game here. They have a nice home tucked away in the woods, a nice-sized pool with a volley ball net, and it's nothing to have fifteen or twenty family members and friends sleeping over during hot summer nights, albeit with the aid of a blow-up mattress and a few sleeping bags on the floor.

But the most fun thing, they have a huge covered patio which could be considered the ultimate Bar Shed. It has a complete wet bar and a frig stocked with beer, two grills and a smoker, an armoire with a big screen TV, sound system, wi-fi of course, and enough seating, tables, and lounge chairs to accommodate everyone staying over - not forgetting the hammocks strung between the trees.

There's a flowing pond with gold fish and frogs, humming birds all around, deer grazing in the background, and the nighttime exterior lighting (complete with candles) makes the whole place look magical. In fact, the house is only used for sleeping and showers; the rest of the day is spent outside on the patio. The first thing you do when waking up in the morning is grab a cup of coffee and go outside to watch the morning news, then maybe take a dip in the pool to get the day started.

I know this is way off topic but other people can have fun in this world - not just the rich, right?

Hope you're enjoying a nice spring, and thanks for dropping by this evening.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lorre White: The Guru of Luxury!

Do you remember back in December when I was hyperventilating over Cartier's amazing three-minute commercials for their high-end luxury jewelry?

Easily among the most expensive ads ever made, the dramatic music and narrative of a gorgeous Spotted Panther in search of his beloved lost mistress instantly draws you in and can mesmerize you in a flash - especially the last tender moments when they finally meet and caress.

In case you didn't see it, here's a link to what I'm apparently still raving about, and promise it won't be a waste of your time.  L'Odyssee de Cartier

Anyhow, I was totally mystified as to why Cartier would do that, spending millions and throwing themselves out there in front of a mass TV audience - the 99% of us who can't afford bupkis, right?

But then I ran across an article in Forbes Magazine that might make sense of the whole thing. It's written by Lorre White, known as the "The Guru of Luxury" in many circles, including numerous upscale magazines and TV shows like CNN Money, ABC, and NBC, just to name a few.

According to Ms. White there's so many new rich people popping up all around the globe, who don't have a clue as to how to spend their money, that wonderful old brands like Cartier, Crane and Company, and Patek Philippe need to get back out there and introduce themselves to this whole new crowd of newly-rich consumers.

So it all makes sense now and satisfies my utter bewilderment. I'm guessing Cartier thinks that all these new rich folk are still watching the same crap on TV that all the rest of us do, right? But then one of their ads comes on and the new rich suddenly realize, "OMG, we can afford Cartier stuff now!"

Here's a link to Ms. White's most interesting and enlightening article in Forbes Magazine.

As always, thanks for dropping in tonight.


Friday, March 6, 2015

European Rich vs. American Rich!

Over the years in writing this blog we've received several requests to compare the old rich of Europe to the new rich in America, which I've been reluctant to tackle. But I do have some observations to share if you have the time and patience.

While the differences between European and American rich people are huge, they're also rather obvious and easy to understand. In America's relatively short history we threw off the rule of kings during the Revolutionary War, and consequently there is no royal class in the United States.

As well and good as that all might be, the unfortunate side effect is that our rich people in America are unrestrained by a disciplined upper class. Like fish out of water, they're flopping around and free to run amok with whatever self aggrandizement and nutty ideas they have going on in their brains.

But in Europe it's not so. No matter how rich you can make yourself in whatever way you do so, you're still up against the royals at the very top of the social scale, and you cannot cross that barrier into royalty no matter how much cash you've managed to accumulate.*

Oddly enough, some of the royals might not have a dime to their name. But they're still royals, and way ahead of the rich in social standing. After various wars and revolutions - making mention of the Romanov family in Russia being murdered in cold blood, and the rich people in France being sent off to the guillotine - the royals were driven from power and questionable republics sprung up all over the place in Europe.

Allowing for this topsy-turvy new world even Regina, Queen of England, was reduced to being a figure head of her new Parliamentary Government. But you'll have to admit her social position remains much higher than anyone in the Parliament, surpassing even that of the late Sir Winston Churchill himself. When she goes out in public the press and tens of thousands follow her every move, don't they? Not so for members of Parliament.

Many of the royals in Europe went into hiding during these turbulent times, and collected in places where the cost of living was low, lots of them fleeing to Portugal. Nonetheless, to this day there's always mention in the press about some Italian, French or Spanish prince or princess, long gone from power, but who's hereditary titles still reign court in modern high society.

The reason we look to these people for guidance is simple. They're the guardians of civility, customs, and manners in all their various countries and cultures, which gives us something to emulate and strive for. Even here in the USA we still look to our American guardians of British manners for style and class - Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post.  

I know this hardly covers the topic. But the differences among the rich are vast in all nations and cultures. Even in America we have the notion that the old-school rich on the east coast are somehow superior to the clueless new rich on the west coast, and there's some rational reasoning behind that, if I might say. However, the lines are blurred today; there's most certainly new rich on the east cost, and old rich on the west. So, as Oscar Wilde might have said, "The whole argument is a colossal waste of time."   

I hope this post wasn't a colossal waste of yours. Thanks for stopping by this evening,


* Of course there's such a thing as Knighthood and Damehood, offered by the royals to those whose accomplishments and contributions to society transcend their non-royal roots: Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Edith Evans, Sir Richard Branson - to name but a few.