That chill in the air means many of us are already pining for warmer climes. And in the coming months, millions will jet to tropical locales and balmy beaches. But this paradise pastime also means the female types among us are back to picking out the “perfect” bathing suit. Didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago? And finding the right fit can take time. Traditionally, designs did not account for all sexy shapes and sizes.
But fortunately, over the past few years, the designs, they are a changin’. Manufacturers have seen the light and are finally creating swimwear for woman of all curves and cambers. A major slice of this $17 billion-dollar bathing suit business is sporty, active swimwear. But here’s the hitch, ladies looking for active swimwear with upmarket sensibilities have so far been out of luck. The message has been: you can either be active, or sophisticated – but not both. And this is Dos Gardenias, a new swimwear line dives into the story.
Powerhouse business women Dorothy Day and Brighdie Grounds who say they spend a “majority” of their free time “submerged in sand, salt water” have created a chic line of swimwear that can keep up with the most active woman, yet never skimps on craftsmanship or style. Produced in the U.S., the women have sourced only the finest fabrics from France and Italy, and Neoprene from Japan. Grounds says, “We knew that the high-end luxury swimwear market was not designed to appeal to the buyer with an active lifestyle. We set out to fulfill that void.”
Growing up in Southern California the women have spent their entire lives in and out of the ocean. In fact, their passion for surfing can be seen in the thoughtful way Dos Gardenias swimwear is constructed. Day says, “[Ground and I] are both pleasure seeking surfers, so when it came to our brand, making no sacrifice for design while using superior quality materials that actually stayed on when in motion was our motivation.”
It makes sense that their watchword is “utilitarian.” They create silhouettes that aspire to this functional, practical ideal. This translates into a monochromatic, but vibrant color palette that flatters every woman’s figure. But it’s the cut that makes the difference. “Design lines are tricky,” says Grounds, “with each body type suiting a different style.” As an example, she notes that “low-waisted styles are best for high-waisted girls and high-waisted styles for long-waisted girls.” What separates Dos Gardenias from other lines is, well, separates. That is, the company sells deftly designed separates so that you can find just the right fit. It’s more than just a great marketing strategy. Both women are passionate about finding the perfect suit for every woman, one that gives her confidence.
Yet, the ladies are firm believers that just because something is practical, it doesn’t have to be plain Jane. To the contrary, they find creative inspiration from Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Dolce Gabbana, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, and Alia.
Dos Gardenias’ pairing of practicality and posh is resonating with women of all facts and figures. However, despite their differences, they share one thing in common. Day says a Dos Gardenias woman is “sophisticated with a wild heart”. She loves fashion but defines herself as an original making it her own. She is not afraid to spend money on the pieces that make up her staple wardrobe.” Staple being the operative word as swimwear isn’t just for summer anymore. With the ease of global travel, swimsuit season is fast becoming year-round. (For the record, the average American woman owns four swimsuits).
However, the Dos Gardenias vision goes beyond a smart business model. The founders are philanthropists who have spent years giving of their time, talent, and resources to improving the lives of people and communities. So it is not surprise that Dos Gardenias will be contributing to causes like Waves for Water (WavesforWater.org), which works on the front-line to provide clean water to communities in need around the world and Glam4Good (Glam4Good.com), a non-profit fashion/beauty movement, that ignites positive social change through style.
These women are revolutioning swimwear one suit at a time, but don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of very hard work behind the glamour. And like other working moms, mountains of sacrifice and moments of daydreaming. Asked what they would consider paradise, Ground says, “It would be to sleep in.” But as a visionary, she doesn’t stop there, no, next stop for the dynamic duo would be a “day spa and lunch break of truffle pasta.” Wearing Dos Gardenias swimsuits, no doubt.
1. Tell us about your love of Mexico.
After falling in love with surfing, I found myself taking quarterly trips to Saladita and Troncones in the state of Guerrero. One day, a friend recommended going to Sayulita, Nayarit. From the moment I set foot onto the cobble stones of the pueblo leading to the main surf break of Sayulita, I knew I found home.
2. How has your love of Mexico influenced you creatively?
Mexico is an exercise in sensory awareness. The colors of the geography, the smell of the food, the sound of the ocean and jungle. It forces you stop and take it all in and once you are in the moment amazing things happen and your creativity soars.
3. How has Sayulita inspired your design specifically- is so?
When I first came to Sayulita, no one really knew about it. Having lived in Europe, New York and California I have always loved people watching and took note of peoples personal style. Now, Sayulita is a destination on the radar on an international level. People come to Sayulita on vacation with their best beach fashion packed and ready to display. I get to see beach chic interrupted in different ways every day.
4. What are your favorite elements of Mexico?
Having road tripped around Mexico with my husband who was born and raised in Mexico, the insider perspective and experience is something that you cannot delve into as a tourist. I love it all… the mountains, the lakes, the cities, of course the beaches most of all the people and always the food.Photo: Nik West
5. You could live and work anywhere in the world, what makes Sayulita special to you?
I have watched Sayulita grow over the last decade and the roots and community have stayed in tact. Its a special place. I always say that Sayulita has a piece of my heart and no matter where I travel I have to come back to Sayulita to make my heart whole again.
6. Tell us about your incredibly creative photoshoots in the water with your models surfing and beach back drop. . What was your inspiration for the black and white along with the beautiful compositions?
Being a fashion model and having been a creative director of a magazine. I see things in black and white or color. I have always loved black and white and admired photographers such as Helmut Newton, Peter Lindberg, and Max Vadukul. I have also had the privilege of working with these legends as a model.We wanted to show the beach and surfing in a different way. Everyone things of blues and greens when they think of the ocean. Composition in the water is up to the photographer and their personal eye. We love, how our water shoots turned out and are looking forward to doing more.
In 1960, young Canadian architect Isadore Sharp opened the first Four Seasons in Toronto. Actually, it was the Four Seasons “Motor Hotel” and was built in one of the least desirable district of the City – the only area Sharp could afford a large piece of undeveloped property. Sharp’s success led him to continue building hotels but it wasn’t until a decade later, when expanding into London that the company transformed into a luxury brand on par with royal favorite Claridge’s and The Connaught, which had housed equally well-heeled guests since 1815. Soon, Four Seasons was catering to both elite business and leisure travelers worldwide.
While competitor luxury hotel chains like Ritz-Carlton sought to create a uniform quality to properties no matter what the locale, Four Seasons strives for uniform service, but emphasizes local architecture and culture.
Missoni tunika from Maris Collective / picture taken by Nik West
This philosophy is richly embraced at the stunning Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita Mexico. The property nests in a 400-acre private nature preserve just northwest of Puerto Vallarta. Traditional Mexican-style casitas sprawl amid lush gardens, their red-tiled roofs kissing the sky.
Designed by Diego Villaseñor and Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita opened in 1999 and features 173 discreet and rooms, including suites and lavish private villas. Sculptures, torches, and fire pits welcome guests throughout the property. The interior was designed by Maria Isabel Gómez and Gina Parlange and showcases a breathtaking contemporary art collection.
Elegant accommodations were redesigned in October 2012 and feature a blend of chic Mexican architectural authenticity and the high-tech lifestyle we value. Color palettes reflect the sparkling sea, white sand, and abundant sunshine just steps outside one’s door.
If dining is your desire, the Resort offers four outstanding restaurants and three lounges under the direction of Executive Chef Philippe Piel Much of the fare is locally sourced, including the sumptuous red snapper, mole paste, Bahía de Banderas lobster, mahi mahi, achiote paste, and coffee.
You can work up your appetite at one of the ten tennis courts, four pools, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, yachting, horseback riding, weight training, yoga, or snorkeling. If golf is your game, two 18-hold Jack Nicklaus courses await you.
Under the marvelous guidance of General Manager John O’Sullivan (an accomplished artist and poet) and Resort Manager , Gonzalo Guelman- Four Seasons Punta Mita has flourished.
I have been privileged to stay at many magnificent Four Seasons properties around the globe, and can say unequivocally that Four Seasons Punta Mita is in a class all its own. The property prides itself on privacy and security – and for good reason. International film stars, politicos, and industry titans all find refuge and renewal under the warm Mexico sun. Rumor is that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was a guest. If true, he might have been on official business. He and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia purchased 95% of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts from founder Isadore Sharp in 2007.Resort dress from Maris Collective Punta Mita / picture taken by Nik West
Sharp, now an octogenarian continues as Chairman. A half-century after he opened the doors of the Four Seasons Motor Hotel in a disreputable part of Toronto, the company thrives as one of the most opulent hotel & resort chains in the world. As for Four Seasons Punta Mita Mexico, it is the shining jewel in its crown.
If you’re wealthy, famous or both; chances are good you’ve discovered the sun- drenched refuge of Punta Mita. Just 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, the cozy beachfront village on the north end of Banderas Bay in the Mexican state of Nayarit has quietly become an exclusive playground for celebrities, moguls and politicos looking for retreat and rejuvenation. The Bold-faced famous like Lady Gaga, Kirsten Dunst, Kim Kardashian, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, Mario Lopez, Demi Moore, Madonna, Sir Elton John, Vince Vaughn, Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston are just a handful of stars who’ve sought solace in the warm breezes of Punta Mita. Along the same latitude as Hawaii, the region averages 85° in summer with winter months averaging a balmy 75°.
While the area boasts some gorgeous resorts, the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort more than lives up to its heavenly namesake the 17th Century monk Saint Jean-François Régis. The resort’s 89 guest rooms and 31 suites offer every wish of modern luxury but are decidedly unfussy. Pampering, not pretention define the world-class service, affording high-profile guests the extravagance of privacy in pristine environs, which include fragrant gardens and infinity pools.
When it opened in 2009, Punta Mita was the first St. Regis property in all of Latin America.
Today, thanks to General Manager James Hughes and his innovative team, The St. Regis is preferred as much for its breathtaking locale as for its extensive list of activities. Two spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses beckon recreational golfers and the pros alike, while the white sand beaches and sparkling coast offer aquatic activities like snorkeling and dolphin watching.
After a day at play, lucky guests may re-energize in the 10,000 square foot Remède Spa. For foodies, the St. Regis is a holiday on its own with five places to savor flavors from near and far. Dine poolside – featuring light fare including ceviches and sushi or sip cocktails as sunset perched at the highest point of the resort with inspiring views. However, if a special occasion calls for true elegance, slip into the Award-winning restaurant Carolina – featuring fine seafood infused with Mediterranean influences as well as local zest.
Whatever your pleasure, St. Regis Punta Mita’s opulent setting, coupled with top drawer amenities and dazzling service will no doubt renew your senses, lift your spirit and have you jetting back again in no time at all.
In a word, my passion is my family. No contest. I am always looking up to the future of the next generation with such pride and passion- guiding them in a beautiful world filled with love and opportunities. I’ve had a wonderful career and know just how fortunate I am. But, my amazing husband David, daughter Skyler, and son John David will always be the center of my life. As a family, we all share a passion for the ocean, nature, surfing, adventure and travel. As such, our philanthropic focus is on the preservation and health of the ocean, earth, surrounding communities and humanity over all.
I am blessed to live in Punta Mita Mexico and in an area brimming with culture and daily adventures including an active jungle beach and surf life with my children. The irony is that after having lived in Beverly Hills for 20 years, returning to Los Angeles to work (as a special correspondent and producer for Entertainment Tonight) and visit with dear friends has become a getaway I always look forward to and absolutely relish! Especially the shopping and beauty treatments at RejuvaYou Spa in Pasadena. I LOVE my Home in Beverly Hills. However – When in Mexico – my favorite getaway is to the St. Regis hotel in Punta Mita – either for a romantic getaway with my husband or a family affair when my children can surf the perfect wave right there in front of the hotel- while we relax from fabulous Spa treatments.. The wave is called “Monuments” and rightly so. I adore the place and energy – it’s super special.
Yikes! My kids could probably name a dozen! Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve had too many embarrassing moments professionally, but as a mom, well, I think that comes with the territory. I still do not understand this Instagram etiquette- apparently- I am doing it all wrong- posting too many photos with silly hashtags- Oh but I adore Instagram and hashtags. #Love #Beauty #gratitude #Peace #livinginParadise #Surfeveryday #Beach #Jungle #happy #happy #happy – It is an Entertainment Journalist’s toy! That’s for sure! Follow me for my life in Paradise and Hollywood Glamour @CherylWoodcock
Back to the embarrassing moment-But this one took the cake for embarrassing professional moments that still resonates in my memory!
I was covering the National Democratic Convention and my Insider crew was next to Katie Couric who had just interviewed Michelle Obama’s brother. My producers said no interviews with Katie as we were not allowed at that time. But I was just standing there with a mic in my hand and we made eye contact so I thought, what the heck and started interviewing her anyway. Suddenly a fan ran up bumping into my cameraman who then proceeded to fall over a chair on to the floor at Katie’s feet. It was a comedy of errors. I was just so red faced because I felt that we had created all of this havoc around her with every major media outlet there to witness the event unfold. However, Katie could not have been more calm, cool, professional and collected about the whole thing. She was a love all the way around. I on the other hand went back to my hotel room and pulled the covers over my head-and lamented- Why do I have to be that pushy journalis- ALL the time-! Ha!
Easy. Their names are David, Skyler, and John David. Or my Family, health- faith .
Professional chocolate taster and bubble bath taker. Or a public servant-politician. My father is an attorney and was a State legislator from Oklahoma. He was a member of the house of Representatives at the time of my birth. I studied criminal justice at Arizona State University. I had planned on being a lawyer, following in my father’s footsteps, then discovered my passion and fire for television journalism. I have been at ET for a total of almost 18 years on and off and really just could not imagine having any other career. Well…… actually- I would be a really great publicist.
Coco Channel, Warren Buffet, Barry Diller, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Gabriel GarciaMarquez, Guadalupe Marin ,Ernest Hemingway, Arriana Huffington– and Nelson Mandela.
Not being prepared for an ET Interview. Sitting down and having no idea what the movie, television show or book is about. I think that happened before actually so maybe that should go under the most embarrassing moment question.
I’m living it! We call it the GYPSET life- a term coined by author Julia Chaplin- It’s a mix of the Gypsey and Jetset lifestyle. Currently-Living in a tropical bohemian esoteric paradise by the sea watching my children grow frolicking in the water-moving forward with their passion of Surfing, academic Studies and aquiring the ever so beneficial skills of being bi-ligual -Bi-cultural along with learning about other lifestyles away from the sometimes stressful conventional society. My children have the opportunity to be children- Super connected to Nature with less attachment to technology during their formative years. What a gift! We are grooming them to be world influencers. I have always adored existing in the bohemian enclaves where the authentic Gypsetters abound- being the ultimate SURF MOM on the beach with the jungle behind and my beautiful children in front taking wave after wave in the crystal blue waters of life -Then being able to hop back on a plane to the Glamorous world of Hollywood and Fashion. I especially adore coming back for the fabulous Genlux parties! I am so blessed to be living the best of both worlds!- We are off the Hossegor France again for the summer to surf the waves there- Oh I am indeed living my favorite dream.
Fortune favors the bold!
Staying at the Petit Hotel Hafa is an experience that cannot be missed. Located on Calle Jose-Mariscal just steps from the plaza center. This quaint hotel is perfect for those seeking a Surf Chic and bohemian lifestyle vacation just minuets to the beach.
It is truly one of my favorites places to stay when I am in the beautiful Surfing village called Sayulita. I just adore all of the rooms that are decorated with handcrafts and art from different cultural areas of Mexico. This Hotel is just perfect for those wanting to enjoy all that Sayulita has to offer without spending a fortune. The bohemian culture and gypsey meets Jet set along with the feel of the hotel really is everything that Surf Chic embodies. Whether you are a Surfer or a beach lover this is the perfect place to come and enjoy.
The hotel is owned by the glamorous and super beautiful multi-national nomadic Mignot family. The Mignot’s have wandered the world for decades, often living on boats and collecting textiles, pearls, and vintage clothing along the way. For years, they set up successful, but temporary clothing boutiques in places like Key West, and Bora-Bora. Fortunately, the last few years have seen them find their land legs in the world’s most desirable destinations, where they are wildly successful artisans, champion surfers, designers and hoteliers. One can spot the children Lola Marco Nomme and Diego Mignot competing on the current WSL world championship Surfing tour. All trained in the waters of Sayulita.
Notably, lifepartners Christophe Mignot and Marina Garcia’s Petit Hotel Hafa in Sayulita has become a refuge for the global traveler looking for luxe comfort, without the fuss. Especially the Surf Chic crowd along with many super famous brands and fashion magazines using the hotel and a Super chic back drop for their photoshoots and advertising campaigns.
There is nothing stuffy about the environs or the staff. If anything, the attitude is refreshingly egalitarian, absent any feeling of pretention. I simply Love this! When I arrive I am always greeting with a warm smile and excitement for the adventure to come while staying in the hotel.
The hotel’s tranquil, yet cheerful Euro-tropical palette soothes and inspires. The Rooms feature unique artifacts from Mexico and open-airy designs that beckon the sea breezes on particularly warm days. Rooftop views survey the ocean, providing a welcome retreat or an optimal place to socialize, whatever your mood. My favorite is to have a glass of wine on the roof at sunset. Or for those who like to indulge of the Mexican culture they offer complimentary Tequila on the roof top.
It’s the perfect place to invite friends and relax. My children actually love sleeping on the rooftop there. Staying at Petit Hafa is one of my all time favorite experiences in Mexico. I simply adore the Hotel’s boutique as well.
The boutique hotel is perfectly perched just off a bustling plaza brimming with fashionable shops and cafes. This brings us to another Mignot gem. Whatever you do, you must stop in to Pachamama. The proprietors are the same family- called the famous Les Gazelles, the athletic, sun-kissed and lovely, Mignot sisters (Nathalie, Laurence, and Marie Jose). Les Gazelles’ shop is chock full of tasteful treasures – Mexican embroidered dresses, Tahitian pearls, leather goods, the famous Dreamcatchers that are sure to delight and so many wonderful creations that could easily be spotted on runways. I hope you will find your way to the treasure.
1. Alexia, tell us a bit about how you got started in this business in New York City?… and some of your professional background.
In the late 80’S as a young girl living in NYC, I got the big break by being chosen to do my apprenticeship (after having finished the required time of study-practice and getting my license); in a very well known Salon on 5th Ave & 57th; moving onto being a Junior Stylist and then a Senior one in a Soho Salon.
I had some months in LA working on Music Videos for a TV Production Co.
Then, later on Becoming a Paul Mitchell Educator once I had moved to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Working for this Company taught me to present and project myself as a true professional, working as a team representing and selling a name brand and truly understand the business and creative aspect of it.
While in St. Thomas I was Chief hair designer for the “Repertory Theatre Company” during my employment in a Hair Salon until I opened my first business at the “Ritz-Carlton” St.Thomas and then moving to beautiful Puerto Vallarta and within a couple of years; opening my “Colorizimo Hair Studio” 12 years ago!
2. Why did you choose to live in Puerto Vallarta?
Vallarta is geographically blessed; with rivers,mountains and beaches, a cosmopolitan young city and an eclectic blend of foreign and Mexican residents; a combination that I happen to really enjoy!.
One can really enjoy the “surf-chic” or “beachy-trendy” lifestyle that I love…..
3. Why did you decide to specialize as a Colorist-Hair Designer?
I’m fascinated with Dimensional Hair color! Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a world without color; visualize it all in black and white… How dull and boring!!!!
Every visual is infused with color…Color is transformation; just as in nature there are many hues of one color; take a blonde for example, there are beige, platinum, ash, golden, rose-golden, yellow,etc..!
The possibilities with color are endless and a haircut compliments color and vice-versa.
4. How did you receive the name “the Queen of Highlites”?
When you’re passionate about something, clients feel it, see it and vibe it…one day my good friend Rose spontaneously said to me…that’s it; you’re “La Reina de las Luces”!
5. What are some points to consider for someone’s hair living this lifestyle, in this climate?
Colorizimo Hair Studio believes your hair should feel sexy, look healthy with dimension in color! … giving you the self-confidence that is sexier than anything else in the world!
Alexia tells us with beautiful conviction that she is a hair artist that likes to make her consultations and sessions very personal and in total confidence. She may even offer you a glass of wine or tequila shot, so you can just relax and enjoy the process!
I truly believe that Alexia is not only the best hair artist in Puerto Vallarta- But the Northern Hemisphere and perhaps the world.!