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HUMAN RESOURCES

" Material things aren't about money, but lifestyle."

An A-Z guide to living large.
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A [Altruism]

Set up a registry of your favorite charities at WhatGoesAround.org, the first online database of every recognized nonprofit organization in the U.S. At idofoundation.org, couples-to-be can create a donation registry or gift registry from which partner stores donate up to 10% of money spent on goods.

B [Books]

Courtroom novel master and criminal defense lawyer Scott Turow presents a potent examination of the death penalty in Ultimate Punishment ($17; Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In The Flyers ($22; Crown), longtime NPR correspondent Noah Adams tells the soaring story of Wilbur and Orville, who had an absurd idea and canvas wings--just in time for the 100th anniversary of the first flight at Kitty Hawk.

C [Classics]

The 1925 Hudson's Bay Point blanket's short indigo stitch lines, or "points," indicate how many beaver pelts it once traded for. This heavy, 100% virgin wool, practically waterproof icon could warm even the coldest trapper for a lifetime. (From $299; 800-441-5713; www.llbean.com)

D [Domesticity]

Laze without the La-Z-Boy stigma in Charles and Ray Eames's supple leather midcentury modern lounge chair and ottoman. ($2,919; 800-944-2233; www.dwr.com)

E [Environment]

Go straight to the source with a contribution to WaterPartners International (water.org), which works with local organizations to clean up and build safe water supplies around the world.

F [Family]

Travel outfitter Backroads builds adult-alone time into its family adventure trips, such as biking/sea kayaking/rafting vacations in Hawaii or New Zealand. (800-462-2848; www.backroads.com)

G [Gadgets]

Slide open the illuminated keypad on the sexy, petite (2.8 ounces) Siemens SL56 to make a call or send pictures, sounds, and animated icons. ($250 with two-year contract at Cingular; www.my-siemens.com/us)

H [Health]

If the pure life exists anywhere, it's on a lush mountaintop above coffee plantations and orchids. The Pura Vida spa in Costa Rica's Alajuela province emphasizes yoga, meditation, and massage, but offers rowdier activities like salsa dancing, whitewater rafting, and hiking through the cloud forest to the Poas Volcano. (Doubles all-inclusive from $1,100 per week; 888-767-7375; www.puravidaspa.com)

I [Indulgence]

A garnish of edible 24-karat-gold powder or leaf adds just enough '80s excess to a cocktail. ($6 for 2 ounces or $50 for 25 sheets; 800-942-2539; www.nycake.com)

J [Joyrides]

Cadillac's XLR hardtop convertible with 4.6L Northstar V8 engine marries high fashion (Bulgari-designed gauges, eucalyptus wood accents) with high-tech function: information projected onto the windshield; XM satellite radio; and DVD entertainment and navigation systems--the automaker even boasts the world's fastest reacting suspension system. ($76,200 and up; www.cadillac.com). The Lamborghini Gallardo two-door, two-seater coupe, with a 500 hp V10 engine and a top speed of 192 mph, vrooms onto American shores this month. ($160,000 and up; www.lamborghini.com)

K [Kicks]

Helmet- or head-mounted cameras are much improved since they were strapped onto NFL refs' domes in the '90s. Slightly larger than a Chapstick, they're waterproof and deliver quality action during skiing, biking, or anything else involving speed. ($189 and up; 651-702-5402; www.bulletcam.com)

L [Looks]

Step into the new airbrushing self-tanning booths at Mystic Tan (877-668-8826; www.mystictan.com) or Hollywood Tans (877-826-7123; www.hollywoodtan.com), where a skin-bronzing mist treatment (about $30) gives you a temporary golden glow without UV damage.

M [Media]

Consider a different center of the universe with a digital TV news outlet with a perspective that travels beyond America's borders. WorldLink TV (www.worldlinktv.org) considers itself the anti-network, but that didn't stop the likes of ABC's Peter Jennings from admiring its global viewpoint as "television without borders." One World TV (www.tv.oneworld.net) is a membership-based community--with extensive video footage online--comprising 57 countries.

N [Nourishment]

The Seattle-based online food boutique ChefShop.com (877-337-2491) carries obscure but popular products--like balsamic vinegars and sea salts from around the world--for even the most discriminating chef.

O [Office]

Play DJ for clients who call--if you're going to make them wait, the least you can do is fill their minutes with song. Drop a CD of your choice into the On-Hold Plus 5000 Series, for digital or analog phone systems, which makes an eight-minute recording. ($250; www.101phones.com)

P [Personalize]

Stand out with a truly one-of-a-kind bag from British accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, who imprints your favorite photograph onto one of seven styles. Can't place your order in person? E-mail the image, and the firm will ship your bag in about four months. ($175 and up; www.beabag.com)

Q [Quiet]

Unless the fireflies are particularly raucous, you won't hear a thing from the candlelit cabanas at the Hotelito Desconocido, less than two hours' drive from Puerto Vallarta. Windmills pump water, and there are no electrical devices (including phones) at Mexico's original ecolodge. (Doubles from $230; 800-851-1143; www.hotelito.com)

R [Relationships]

Leading the new wave of intimacy resorts (the kind without hirsute wife-swappers and crystals) is Canyon Ranch's frank and popular five-day Sex: Body & Soul workshop for you and your beloved to reconnect. Viagra samples included. ($6,000 and up per couple; 800-742-9000; www.canyonranch.com)

S [Service]

Do away with a traveler's least favorite element: luggage handling. For $1.65 per pound, Luggage Free courier service will pick up, plastic-wrap, and tag your bags at home, then deliver them so they'll be waiting for you--skis to the mountain, stroller to the amusement park--at any U.S. destination. (800-361-6871; www.luggagefree.com)

T [Toys]

No more hauling the laptop on pleasure trips just for its DVD player. Sony's latest portable DVD player, the DVP-FX700, is less than six inches wide and an inch thick. Its sharp LCD screen gives the highest picture quality available on a seven-inch screen. (About $600; 800-222-SONY; www.sonystyle.com)

U [Unwind]

Elizabeth Arden's new Print-A-Gift feature lets you name your price, purchase online, and print out a gift certificate. It's good for services that treat the body and soothe the soul at more than 15 Red Door spas nationwide, and an ideal instant reward for yourself. (www.reddoorsalons.com)

V [Vice]

Roy West, author of the bestselling 7 Card Stud: The Complete Course in Winning (Cardsmith) and the best-known poker teacher in Las Vegas (the 68-year-old says so himself), gives private lessons to tourists and locals; "Ladies are welcome." ($420 for a four-hour tutorial in your hotel room; 800-548-6177, ext. 03)

W [Wish fulfillment]

No idea is too outlandish for the folks at BlueFish Concierge, a sky's-the-limit service that recently arranged for J.Lo to sing at a wedding and for two friends to fly in a Russian MiG fighter plane. (www.bluefishconcierge.com)

X [eXpertise]

High Cascade Snowboard Camp has been teaching adults to ride for 11 years. Morning lessons take place on Oregon's Mount Bachelor, which has enough snow to bring the snowboard season up to May. ($1,775 single, $1,575 couple for six-day clinics; 800-334-4272; www.highcascade.com)

Y [Yesterday]

Few things become more handsome as they age than a wristwatch. Watch Commander buys, sells, and trades all the vintage goodies, from understated Rolex Oyster Perpetuals to one sweet $12,500 diamond-framed Cartier Tank Mini Divan. (www.watchcommander.com)

Z [Zen]

Legend holds that monkeys gathered leaves from high tea trees to help Chinese monks make Tieguanyin oolong. This golden tea starts slightly bitter, then sweetens--as we all should do. ($120 per pound; 888-832-8008; www.holymtn.com)

Continue Reading The Good Life




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