Step Into Spring
Pack up your boots, put away those pumps and say adieu to Uggs. Spring has officially arrived and, with it, a new crop of shoes that celebrate longer days, warmer nights and the first show of bare legs. Put some sparkle in your step:
Precious metals. Metallic shoes are making a lustrous comeback. No longer a fashion relic of the '80s, today's pretty metals have been recast as understated flats in gold and silver that add a dash of St-Tropez sparkle to cropped pants, full skirts and even denim. The striking Degas Ballerina by Tod's is perfect for long promenades (www.tods.com), and slipping into Lanvin's lurex flats (www. lanvin.fr) infuses your favorite pair of jeans with instant French luxe.
Hot rocks. Baubles, beads, beach glass and seashells: spring's low-key jewelry is adorning some of this season's most seductive sandals. Aegean-blue beads on Manolo Blahnik's turquoise thongs give flourish to simple skirts and short pants. Craving a bit of bling? Christian Louboutin's sherbet-colored sandals are iced with Swarovski crystals and shimmer in the spring sunlight. (Both available at neimanmarcus.com)
Wedge with edge. Ever since Italian shoe maestro Salvatore Ferragamo made heels out of wine-bottle corks in the 1930s, generations of grateful women have pranced and pivoted in four-inch wedges hour after comfy hour. This season, the wedge is treated with contemporary flair: vivid espadrilles with satin ribbons are irresistible with full skirts. Jimmy Choo's mosaic-patterned Gin Wedge (www.jimmychoo.com) brings summer spice to cotton dresses, and will have you tangoing long after sunset.
Riviera revival. Ah, Amalfi! In the 1960s, Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot sashayed along the Italian coastline wearing Pucci scarves. Designers are reliving those days, turning out shoes in vivid prints-- from bold blooms to delicate calicos. Pucci's signature swirls give classic espadrilles new vibrancy (www.pucci.com), and the dainty buds on Gucci's Flora Slide are based on a scarf collection created in 1966 for Ms. Kelly (www.gucci.com). Enjoy your own taste of la dolce vita!
Meals To Save For
Planning a summer vacation in Europe? If so, you don't want to miss these restaurant recommendations from the Zagat guide:
BARCELONA CA L'ISIDRE 34-93-441-1139. "Anyplace good enough for the king is good enough for me," swear fans of this small, family-run place favored by Spain's King Juan Carlos. "Superb" cuisine, the "best chocolate desserts" and "professional service" make it "unforgettable."
BRUSSELS BRUNEAU 32-2-427-6978. Supporters say this "excellent" French may be the "best restaurant in all of Belgium," where "elegant," "superb cuisine" is served in two "lovely" rooms rich with marble and jade.
FLORENCE ENOTECA PINCHIORRI 39-055-242-777. Loyalists of this legendary Italian in an "exquisite" 16th-century palazzo dub it "as good a restaurant as exists in Europe" thanks to "world-class" cuisine, an "unrivaled wine list" and a "sensual" setting.
ZURICH PETERMANN'S KUNSTSTUBEN 41-1-910-0715. This international-French "mecca of innovative dining" in Kusnacht offers "creative cuisine" "thoughtfully prepared" by "top chef" Rico Zandonella. Be sure to "reserve well in advance."
For A Quick Return
Are you looking to improve your game? Prince's new O3 Silver racquet ($260; princetennis.com/O3) comes with a new design--large "O-ports" around the frame, giving the strings extra spring. Players will benefit in at least two ways. First, the racquet moves through the air more quickly, so you can return those smashes. Second, the design creates a bigger sweet spot, which means fewer flubs. "It takes no energy to hit the ball," says our tester, a tennis instructor.
Prince has also produced a red version of the racquet that retails for $220. It's designed for more-experienced players. Just don't give away your secret to the competition.
LIFE OF LUXURY
If The Shirt Fits...
"For men, the shirt is a second skin," says Gianni Battistoni, owner of the eponymous haberdashery in Rome. "So it's important to have a quality of fabric and cut that gives you comfort." That's what Battistoni has offered since Gianni's father, Guglielmo, opened back in 1946 and developed an elite clientele that included Marlon Brando and the Duke of Windsor--who, mind you, had Savile Row at his disposal. Over the years Battistoni has expanded into men's and women's ready-to-wear, accessories and perfume. But the heart of the business is still custom shirts. You pick out the fabric, the cut and the style of collar; shirts run between 200 and 250 apiece, monogram included. There is at least one fitting and sometimes two, and it'll ship overseas. "Since 1946, nothing has changed," boasts Battistoni. Actually, one thing has: once your pattern is on file, you can order new shirts online (www.battistoni.com)
Uncorked: 2002 Bordeaux
France's most important wine region struggled with a cool, rainy season in 2002. Despite the obstacles, good wines were made, and there are even a few bargains. Our picks (mostly blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot) should be at their best in three to five years. Chateau Latour Pauillac 2002 This first growth is the bottle of the vintage with ripe fruit, licorice and toasty flavors. Give it about 10 years in the cellar before drinking.
Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac 2002 Pauillac was one of 2002's most successful regions, and this wine proves it with a lovely texture and flavors of berries and tobacco.
Chateau Giscours Margaux 2002 An underachiever for years, Giscours is making a comeback. This bottling is elegant, with blackberry and mineral flavors.
Chateau Chasse-Spleen Moulis 2002 Moulis is an underrated region, so prices are generally fair. This red, from one of its best estates, offers cherry and berry flavors.
Chateau d'Agassac Haut-Medoc 2002 This classic Bordeaux, with a silky texture and earthy flavors, is a real value among the 2002 vintage, and it's drinking well now.
Om Away From Home
Maintaining a regular yoga practice can be a hassle for business travelers, but several hotel chains are making it easier to strike a pose on the road. Kimpton hotels (kimptonhotels.com) supply guests with a complimentary yoga mat and block, plus a 24-hour yoga channel. Hilton Hotels & Resorts (hilton .com) offers free Travel Fit Kits featuring a mat and other equipment to create your own in-room yoga studio. Westin hotels (starwoodhotels.com /westin) are offering a yoga- and Pilates-inspired workout channel, developed by fitness expert Lisa Wheeler, which includes moves you can do right on your bed. And, starting this spring, Westin will add a $20 in-room program that includes cardio and strength equipment, as well as yoga and Pilates DVDs. Now, wherever you go, you can breathe even more deeply before the big meeting.