Finding Romance In Chinese Astrology

year of the horse

On 31 January, Singapore celebrated the Lunar New Year – this is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar as it symbolizes the coming of spring.  I personally love the Lunar New Year celebrations because it is a wonderful opportunity to get together and celebrate with the family.

chinese astrology

The Chinese culture has its own zodiac or astrological signs, which rotate each Lunar New Year.   The different signs are named after 12 different animals, (see my post HERE for more information on the animals and the story behind them). This year marks the year of the horse.

Like the western astrological signs, each character in the Chinese zodiac has unique characteristics and personality traits.   As a result, different signs are more compatible as friends, companions and lovers than other.  Because we are approaching western culture’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share a chart outlining compatibility.  You may be surprised to learn that many people still rely on these charts when determining if a mate is suitable for them!

Chinese Astrology

If you are in Singapore and would like to know more about your zodiac sign, you can always approach a Capella Singapore Personal Assistant who can arrange you meeting with a Chinese Astrology expert to teach you more about your sign and the significance of the Chinese zodiac.

The Rye Bar’s Romantic Cocktail Tips

Valentines Day Cocktail

What are the secrets to creating a great cocktail?  This question came up during my chat with one of the Rye Bar’s signature & most well-known D.C. bartenders, Angel Cervantes.  “The liquor must stand out and the herbs and liqueurs must always come secondary.”   I wanted to get a deeper look into how our bartenders at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown create these unique, flavor punched cocktails, and what the basics are to create my own at home.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I asked Angel for his best romantic cocktail tips:

Valentines Day Cocktail

One of my favorite words of recommendation from Angel is, “It doesn’t matter what you’re making, it matters who you’re making it with.”  Creating cocktails involves letting loose and being creative.  To make it romantic, try tasting new flavors with your significant other to experience what you both like.  “Play with flavors of liqueurs, juices, sweetness, and acidity and decide what you are in the mood for.”  First, you must choose your liquor that will be the main focus of the drink.  Then think about what to add to your cocktail- herbs like lavender, rosemary, basil (infused in simple syrup), and citruses like lemons, limes, and oranges.  Once you both develop your favorite ingredients, fixings, and liquors, you will have an easier and more pleasurable time crafting cocktails.

Some of Angel’s suggested staple bar ingredients are:

  1. Lime or Lemon
  2. Sugar infused with an assortment of herbs or fruits
  3. Bitters, a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring

Will this Valentine’s Day be bitter or sweet for you? Regardless, here’s a great cocktail recipe that you can try out for yourself at home in case you’re not able to be here with us this year!

My Bitter Valentine

1.5 oz. Boyd & Blair Vodka
Dash of Hum Herbal Liqueur
.75 oz. St-Germaine
1 oz. Luxardo
Top with 3 dashes Boston Bitters
.25 oz. Lime juice

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dried rose petal.

For a more hands on learning experience, The Rye Bar is hosting a Couple’s Cocktail Class on Valentine’s Day weekend, which is all about enjoying quality time with your significant other while developing romantic craft cocktails and learning essential bar techniques.  Guests will also delight in canapés and small bites, followed by a 3-course meal with cocktail pairings.  At the end, each couple will receive a signature take home gift from The Rye Bar!  For reservations, contact Elisabeth Thomas at (202) 617-2429 or email elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.

Romance In Singapore

Romance in Singapore

This February, love is in the air, especially in Singapore where the Chinese Valentine’s Day, which is the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, coincides with the Western Valentine’s Day.

To commemorate this occasion, I sought to uncover some of the most romantic spots and activities where you can savour the best of Singapore while enjoying the company of your loved one.  These are my top 3 recommendations:

The Jewel Box Cable Car Dining
I particularly love this because you get to enjoy a private dinner with your loved one high up in the sky with a panoramic view of the vibrant Singapore city and Sentosa Island below you.  It is certainly a remarkably memorable experience to watch the glistening lights below.  You will truly feel the romance of spending quality time in a space which you can call yours exclusively for the evening.

Romance in Singapore

Be My Valentine: A Spa Villa at Capella Singapore
Last week, I had the pleasure of having a preview of the Be My Valentine package here at Capella Singapore.  Now this is romance!  Enjoy one of Capella Singapore’s romantic villas for the weekend, which has been completely transformed with romance in mind.  This weekend getaway includes in-Villa Auriga spa treatments, a special Valentine’s dinner at The Knolls and even a one-hour photo-shoot to memoralize the weekend.  Of course there is plenty of champagne and chocolate as well.  Frankly, I can’t imagine a more romantic way to spend the holiday!

Take A Trishaw Ride Though Singapore
In my book, nothing says romance more than a whimsical tour though Singapore’s rich colonial heritage.  Trishaws are bicycle drawn carts, an evolution of the rickshaws, which were used as transportation for the wealthy in old Singapore.  Today you can cosy up to your loved one as you take a ride though some of Singapore’s most culturally rich places like Chinatown – just you and your partner, and of course your friendly trishaw guide who’ll be eagerly share fascinating historical tales.

If you would like to know more about any of these couple’s activities in, please approach your Capella Singapore Personal Assistants who would be pleased to share their favourite romantic haunts in Singapore.

Romantic Mexican Traditions

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

Valentine’s day is around the corner, and it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans.  We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family.  Throughout history, love has always been very important to Mexicans and as a result, we have many romantic Mexican traditions.

Our ancient civilization Mexica had two gods, that personified Love: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal.  Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica.  He was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs.  His name means “the prince of the flowers” and he had a twin sister, the goddess of love, Xochiquetzal, meaning “precious flower or ornate bird.”  In honor of this pair of gods and their representation of love, Mexica used to celebrate with a four day festival.  During this time the people would make offerings of bread and corn, pierce their tongues with maguey thorns and dance to the beat of drums called teponaztli.

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

Today, Mexico’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are similar to celebrations around the world.  Red roses are given, romantic cards written and chocolates enjoyed.  But we do have some traditions that remain our own.

In smaller towns, young people often meet in town squares; the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other.  Then, they walk around the perimeter in opposite directions, so they can face and look at each other.  On the second round the boys offer a flower to the girl that they like.  On the third round, if the girl has retained the flower, it means that she has agreed to go out with her suitor.  If she doesn’t keep the flower, it means she has rejected him and the boy must pick another girl.

My absolute favorite way of expressing the love in Mexico are “las serenatas” (serenades).  They are just so romantic!  You have probably seen the act of playing a serenade in some movie.  Usually, the boyfriend gathers a group of mariachi, or a trio, and visits the girlfriend’s house after the sunset.  On the street, under his loved one’s window, they all start to sing the most romantic and heartfelt songs.  The intention is to wake her up with songs that will touch the heart.  When the girl appears at her window, it means that she is pleased and approves of the serenade (I can’t imagine a girl could resist such a sweet and romantic gesture from her loved one!).  However the family may be a different story- if they approve of the suitor he may be invited in to visit, but if the family does not they may toss the water on him!

At Capella Ixtapa we have prepared a special Valentine’s Day package and are organizing many romantic activities and sweet attentions during this most romantic month.  Who knows, we might even get to play a serenade for some of our lucky guests!

 

 

Photo: LA76 Photography

Tradiciones Románticas Mexicanas

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

El Día de San Valentín está a la vuelta de la esquina, y encaja perfectamente la naturaleza amorosa y festiva de los mexicanos.  Utilizamos esta dulce excusa para consentir a nuestros seres queridos, amigos y familia.  A través de la historia, el amor siempre ha sido un tema importante para los mexicanos.  Nuestra antigua civilización Mexica tenía incluso dos dioses que representaban el amor: Xochipilli y Xochiquetzal. 

Xochipilli Era el equivalente a Apolo para los Mexicas.  El era el dios del amor, los juegos, la belleza, la danza, las flores, el maíz y las canciones.  Su nombre significa “príncipe de las flores” y tenía a una Hermana gemela, la diosa del amor Xochiquetzal, que significa “Flor Hermosa o Ave de Ornato”.  En honor a este par de dioses y su representación del amor, los Mexicas solían organizar una fiesta de 4 días.  Durante estos días la gente realizaba ofrendas con pan y maíz, se perforaban la lengua con puntas de maguey y bailaban al ritmo de los tambores llamados teponaztli.

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

Hoy día, las celebraciones de Día de San Valentín son similares a las del resto del mundo.  Se dan rosas rojas, se mandan tarjetas románticas y los chocolates se disfrutan en pareja.  Pero aún así tenemos algunas tradiciones muy nuestras.

En pueblos pequeños, la gente joven se congrega en las plazas del pueblo; las chicas de una lado de la misma, y los hombres del opuesto.  Entonces se empieza a caminar alrededor de la misma en direcciones opuestas, así será posible que se vean a la cara.  En la segunda vuelta los hombres ofrecerán una rosa a la chica que les gustó.  En la tercera vuelta, si la chica se quedo con la flor, significará que accede a salir con el pretendiente.  Si no conserva la flor, significará que ha rechazado la oferta y el muchacho deberá buscar alguna otra chica.

Sin embargo mi manera favorita de expresar el amor en México son “las serenatas”.  Son tan románticas!  Seguramente has visto alguna serenata aunque sea en una película.  Usualmente, el hombre consigue un mariachi, o un trio y visita la casa de su amada al atardecer.  Desde la calle y al pie de su ventana, comienzan a cantar las canciones más románticas.  La intención es despertarla con canciones que le tocarán el corazón.  Cuanto la amada aparece en la ventana, significa que ella está complacida y agradece la serenata (No puedo imaginar que chica puede resistir semejante gesto tan dulce y romántico de su amante!).  Sin embargo, la familia puede ser un tema totalmente diferente – si aprueban al pretendiente lo invitarán a pasar a la casa, pero si no es así, le pueden hasta lanzar una cubetada de agua!

En Capella Pedregal tenemos preparado un paquete especial para el Día de San Valentín y organizamos varias actividades románticas así como dulces detalles durante este el mes más romántico del año.  Quien sabe, incluso podríamos cantar alguna serenata para alguno de nuestros huéspedes!

 

 

Foto: LA76 Photography

A Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown Wedding

Georgetown Wedding 2

With February being Romance Month at Capella Hotels & Resorts, love is in the air and I’m excited to share with you an insider look into the recent marriage of Michael & Kym at Capella Washington, DC!  I can’t think of a more romantic destination to exchange wedding vows than during a rooftop sunset in the heart of historic Georgetown.

Georgetown WeddingFor the full story, I arranged to sit down with our Wedding & Event Specialist, Elisabeth Thomas.  Her insight and storytelling captivated me and I couldn’t help but to share it with you all!  The bride to be arrived at Capella D.C. without any idea that her fiancé had planned an intimate wedding ceremony on the rooftop with their immediate family, followed by a catered reception in our luxurious Presidential Suite.  She thought the two of them were just exchanging vows with an officiant on the rooftop.   Instead, the groom surprised her with some of his and her favorite things; family, friends, Calla lilies, champagne and layered vanilla & chocolate cake!

Elisabeth worked exclusively with the groom to make sure every detail came together perfectly.   One of Elisabeth’s favorite moments was the mother-of-the-bride surprise arrival as Kym was getting ready.  Elisabeth mentioned that the best time to organize a surprise like this is always before the bride puts on her makeup – there will certainly be tears!  Another special moment were the Calla lily bouquets, Kym’s favorite flower, which were arranged around the Presidential Suite reception along with canapés and cocktails that made for a scrumptious celebration.  I get the chills just thinking about how special and loved Kym must have felt upon discovering these details.

Georgetown Wedding 2This story is dear to my heart because it marks the first rooftop wedding love story at Capella D.C since opening in March, 2013.  If you happen to be planning your anniversary, birthday celebration, Valentine’s Day, or your own Georgetown Wedding, I know you will love and appreciate the outstanding attention that Elisabeth and our service professionals will provide to you every step of the way.  In fact, for those of you considering a romantic getaway in the Nation’s Capital, I would like to invite you to review our specials and experiences available Valentine’s Day Weekend!   Might I also suggest a romantic dinner for two at The Grill Room on Valentine’s Day, featuring a secret love potion intermezzo to kick off the 4-course menu?

For more information about weddings and romantic celebrations in February and beyond, be sure to contact Elisabeth Thomas directly at elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com or by calling (202) 617-2429.