Hallandale Beach Blog - A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden.
In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Photo in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A, September 2008; March 2018 photo below of North Beach, looking left-to-right, looking north, HYDE Condominium, Etaru Japanese Robatayaki restaurant, and Hollywood Beach in the distance, with umbrellas. All photos by me, © Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Which European country has the most attractive citizens?" Sweden won in a landslide with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. Yes, seeing is believing!; Norwegian.com's non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo start in 4 months! :)

Boredpanda.com poll of Europeans asked, "Which European country has the most attractive citizens?"

As the above map on the tweet above shows, Sweden won in a landslide, with almost four times as many votes as second-place France, with Spain third and Norway fourth. 

Yes, seeing is believing!

But trust me, Norway is a very, very competitive fourth!
Even the armed female Customs officers at Oslo Airport Gardermoen are very, very attractive, which at 6:45 a.m., in the middle of January, after a LONG overnight flight from Newark, was not something I was expecting.
But adapt I did!

I really like the Oslo Airport, too, since it's very clean and tidy, and if you didn't know any better, you would think it opened last year.

Remember, too, as I've written about here previously, four months from now, low-fare carrier Norwegian Airlines starts non-stop flights from Fort Lauderdale to Oslo on November 30th.
With flights to Stockholm and Copenhagen days later.
No more need for pointless flights first to Newark, Chicago, Detroit or Dulles just to fly to Scandinavia.

APRIL 20, 2013
Scandinavian Delight! Starting November 30th, fly nonstop cheaply between Ft Lauderdale and Oslo or Copenhagen on Norwegian.com, and starting December 1st, fly from FLL to Stockholm Arlanda; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark

APRIL 22, 2013
Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Day of Hallandale Beach's 2013 Budget Workshop on Monday is royal debacle for HB taxpayers in favor of more accuracy, financial oversight and prudent decision-making. And free speech!; On the plus side, the Hallandale Beach City Commission didn't declare war on Cuba or The Bahamas, so there's that; recycling in Sweden is SO much easier than in Hallandale Beach

Meanwhile, in another place and time, but also of this world and year... For someone like me who's a longtime recycling enthusiast, one of the best things about Sweden in general and Stockholm in particular is the average person's very strong personal commitment to keeping that beautiful city -and its public nature areas- free of trash and debris. You pay a few Kroner more for products packaged in recyclable plastic or aluminum, like maybe 20 cents on a 12-ounce Coca Cola can, at both retail stores and from street vendors in kiosks, but you always get your money back via self-serve machines like the ones pictured above at stores. (I did this myself with some Coke products at the the Hemköp grocery store in the basement of the Åhléns Dept. store at Ringvägen and Götgatan, across the street from the Skanstull T-bana in the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm.)
This recycling system has the psychological advantage of creating a real financial incentive in consumers of all political temperaments or persuasions to return items to stores, as well as incentivizing people to pick-up any recyclables they ever see lying on roads or in parks -and get that found money themselves- which is one of the reasons that Stockholm is SO CLEAN! 
They make it as easy as possible to recycle, the polar opposite of the approach in Hallandale Beach, where the city itself puts up real and meaningful obstacles.

First Day of Hallandale Beach's 2013 Budget Workshop on Monday is royal debacle for HB taxpayers in favor of more accuracy, financial oversight and prudent decision-making. And free speech!; On the plus side, the Hallandale Beach City Commission didn't declare war on Cuba or The Bahamas, so there's that; recycling in Sweden is SO much easier than in Hallandale Beach
Only five Hallandale Beach citizens showed-up for the start of the meeting, including me, at 4:15 pm, so we few were significantly outnumbered by city employees by a factor of about 8:1, mostly Dept. heads.
Surprise! The meeting started late...

Hallandale Beach civic activists Csaba Kulin and Maggie Ivanovski each spoke for three minutes at the very beginning of the meeting after, a propos of nothing, Mayor Cooper felt the need to share her opinion on the George Zimmerman trial.

The mayor's comments were as predictable as they were completely unnecessary and inappropriate, and yet another reminder of the large obstacles this city faces in ever becoming a normal city instead of merely her personal plaything.

Csaba and Maggie's spot-on comments came before any Dept. or subject budget presentation and concerned a.) the Parks Bond issue & cost overruns at B.F. James Park, and b.) the number of new city employees that have  been hired since City Manager Renee Miller was hired as HB's City Manager over a year ago, having pledged to at least some of us in the community of her best efforts to instill some real oversight on city activities and keep costs under control.

Not that either thing she promised me last summer is readily-apparent to even the most casual of observers, since I still see the same bad things routinely taking place in the same bad way
in the same exact places and circumstances.
I'll be doing a video on that soon that I think will give you a sense of how true this is.

After the two of them were finished, when it would have been perfectly appropriate and sensible to make a motion to allow the public to speak after each Dept.'s presentation of what their request is and why, since as the mayor is so fond of saying over the years about city Workshop meetings, which this was in part, they "have flexibility," no HB commissioner had the good sense to do so, least of all, the mayor.

For all his faults, to give him his due on this, even former City Manager Mike Good allowed citizens to ask questions after Dept. budget presentations when he and Mayor Cooper were running things up in the infamous and cramped Room 257 at HB City Hall.

I know because I was one of the handful of persons who regularly took advantage of the opportunity to remind him, the Commission and the staff about their previous promises to the public that had gone unfulfilled and in many cases, never even attempted, or if they had, as was the case with the city's recycling program after they bought tens of thousands of bins, done
haphazardly, unprofessionally or in a general half-assed fashion.

The city's ass-backwards recycling program and approach remains a very frustrating and disheartening mess in my opinion, given the resources they have now but don't properly utilize, to say nothing of their lack of effort to be intelligent about capturing more by using known consumer behavior in this small city.

Those budget meetings were one of the rare times in the year in this city when you got a chance to really hold Dept. heads to the fire and make them responsible or publicly acknowledge problems that they consciously ignored the rest of the year, which would now get a full airing.
Well, at least as much of an airing as you can have when City Manger Good and Mayor Cooper each had a microphone in a small room when you are about ten feet away, at most.

So, whatever good points you or I or anyone else had regarding the budget particulars were left unsaid Monday afternoon and night because Mayor Cooper refused to  allow any members of the public to speak once City Manager Miller ran  thru the agenda for the next three days and her 'laundry list of priorities, which really should've been a list of the Commission's priorities,
of course, but I digress.

Which is why a motion should have been made, so Cooper would've been forced to public defend her position that no taxpayers of this city should be able to talk about the budget after they hear the financial "facts." 

No, she doesn't want to hear from you until September when it's too late, because then it's a done deal.
The 2013 HB Budget train will have already left the station with her as conductor, and she will tell you if you ask that "you should've spoken up earlier" when you had the chance.
But, of course, you really didn't have that chance to make constructive suggestions and informed criticisms, did you?

But here's the thing: Not showing up at the meetings , though, only encourages Mayor Cooper, so it's important that you try to attend on Tuesday or Wednesday after 4 p.m., and see whether the tables are finally turned, since they'll be going on for hours.

If you think you as a Hallandale Beach taxpayer, resident or small business owner ought to be able to ask informed questions after hearing the Dept.'s presentations, instead of commenting without knowing all the facts, why don't you call the HB City Commission and tell them you want the budget process to be one where there's genuine community input, not lip service, and you want them to pass a motion making that a reality on Tuesday and Wednesday?

You can reach the Commissioners at these phone numbers:
Michele Lazarow   (954) 457-1320
Bill Julian   (954) 457-1317
Anthony A. Sanders   (954) 457-1319
Alexander Lewy   (954) 457-1315

It's your money after all, not theirs.

And don't forget to bring your cameras with you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trending at HBB with Sexy Swedish élan: Edda Magnason channels iconic Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund for her upcoming biopic "Monica Z"; Edda Magnason - Sakta vi gå genom stan (Official Video); Opens nationally in Sweden on September 13th, but premiering at 'Way Out West' film festival in Göteborg from August 8-10; #monicaz, @PeterBirro

UniversalMusicSweden YouTube Channel video: Edda Magnason - Sakta vi gå genom stan (Official Video). Uploaded July 13, 2013. http://youtu.be/Ni5a6Q8D16I

Monica Zetterlund was an exceptional artist with a unique place in Swedish life and pop culture, and this film shows how she went from an unknown to icon, yet even while living a fabulous life on stage, she led a turbulent private life away from the spotlight.

Central among many other co-stars of the film is the City of Stockholm itself, given that the name of the film is a direct reference to an an iconic Swedish song sung by and made famous by Zetterlund that's a variation of the 1930's hit, Walkin' My Baby Back Home.
With new Swedish lyrics by Beppe Wolgers, this old song became Slowly we walk through town -Sakta vi gå genom stan.  

It's a song that every reasonably well-educated person in Sweden and environs knows and recognizes instantly, regardless of their age or political ideology or musical tastes.
It's that big. 

Monica Zetterlund recording of Sakta vi gå genom stan, with lyrics at:

Given such a name, this film doesn't pretend that it is not steadfastly in love with a certain place and je ne sais quoi attitude at a certain time in history, and that place and time was Stockholm in the early and mid-Sixties.

It's a film that like Woody Allen's best movies about New York City, is not not afraid to romanticize its beloved Stockholm, always one of the most beautiful cities in the world, then as now, which anyone who goes there sees and feels.
Even when like me, it's in the middle of January

It's part of why SO MANY PEOPLE who live there genuinely LOVE being part of it, and in a way that would surprise people living elsewhere, could NOT imagine ever wanting to live somewhere else, even New York, London or Paris.
They'd visit there on holiday, of course, but Stockholm is for them, and they have no intention of leaving.

In this film playing Monica Zetterlund, I can clearly see that singer/actress Edda Magnason can cause that involuntary "Julie Christie swoon" that comes over me sometimes that I've spoken about at various times and places, including this blog. 
I can tell you without reservation that is NOT a feeling to be trifled with.

And yes, before you ask or write me about it, I DO see that resemblance to American actress Alicia Silverstone, back before she went completely off-track and Hollywood wild child, 
Don't pretend you don't see it, either. (See more at bottom.)

ABSvenskFilmindustri YouTube Channel video: Monica Z - official trailer (In Swedish)
Monica Zetterlund stars as Swedish singing/acting icon Edda Magnason; directed by Per Fly, written by Peter BirroUploaded May 15, 2013. http://youtu.be/H7qb41FaTXw

Monica Zetterlund died on May 12th, 2005 at the age of 67, as the result of injuries sustained in a fire in her Stockholm apartment. Confined to a wheelchair the last few years of her life by a severe case of scoliosis, she called the Fire Dept. to report the fire and urge them to hurry because the fire was rapidly spreading, but the first firemen arriving on the scene found her already dead, her wheelchair still next to her bed. So sad...

The film officially premieres in Sweden on September 13th. but it will be shown as part of the featured films at the 'Way Out West' film festival in Göteborg from August 8-10th.

In Swedish: http://www.wayoutwest.se/
In English: http://www.wayoutwest.se/en/

Official film website: http://www.sf.se/filmer/Monica-Z/

Edda's official website: http://www.eddamagnason.com/

viasatsverige youTube Channel: Edda Magnason intervju Hans Wiklund. Uploaded May 20, 2013. http://youtu.be/7VLEyB94DEg

ABC-TV video: Jimmy Kimmel's YouTube Challenge - I Silverstoned My Kid. Uploaded April 3, 2012. http://youtu.be/G4qAVY5RSR8

There was a certain moment in time in the 1990's where, with nothing more than a little black dress or something suitably chic and simple, Alicia Silverstone could, sometimes, stop a crowd cold with just a look.

And people would freeze.

Yes, though it's hard for some of you to believe it, a moment really did exist in our pop culture zeitgeist when it seemed that almost nothing could stop Alicia Silverstone from becoming one of the most popular and highly-paid actresses in the world, other than self-sabotage.

Silverstone didn't get that last big film contract of hers for nothing, because she really DID have genuine charisma, good looks and talent to spare, and was generally considered easy to work with on set, NOT a young diva.

But then for reasons known largely to her, she made some bad decisions, seemed to stop caring quite so much or trying so hard -and audiences suddenly felt let down by her.
It's not called Show Business for nothing.
It's a business, not a place for hobbyists or people indulging whims or people going thru a "phase."

Whether Alicia Silverstone will ever decide to take advantage of her talent and natural likeability in the future again and have a Second Act in Hollywood is a decision known only to her.

Some prescient mid-2013 thoughts re 2014 Florida House 100 race: Sunshine State News calls it a "Democratic Battleground" for next year's open seat, with carpetbagger Joe Gibbons term-limited, but the new FL-100 district is now more Moderate and MUCH MORE Hispanic than old one was; Liberals Joe Geller and Alexander Lewy DON'T want to amend 'Stand Your Ground' but to kill it, putting them in a sub-minority position within both the state and the area -the 13%. Residents are NOT interested in giving away useful tool that makes at least some criminals think twice before attacking them; This seat is tailor-made for a certain kind of smart, personable and articulate Moderate interested in public policy that works, not partisan politics, but will one emerge, and if so, will they be from Aventura or Sunny Isles Beach? And will that Moderate candidate be a Female?

Sunshine State News
Democratic Battleground Emerges for South Florida Open House Seat
By Kevin Derby
Posted: July 24, 2013 3:55 AM
With Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Pembroke Park, facing term limits in 2014, three Democratic candidates are already running hard to replace him in the Florida House. Gibbons, who is now running for the Broward County Commission, represents parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
So far, former North Bay Village Mayor Joe Geller, Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Alex Lewy and teacher John Paul Alvarez are seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Gibbons. 
Read the rest of the article at:

That's curious!
Voluble former Florida Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller's name never gets mentioned once in this interesting Sunshine State News article I read this morning, and neither do any of his very helpful friends in the area and their well-financed groups & PACS they represent, most of whom will be involved with his brother Joe's FL-100 campaign at some point.

Also never mentioned -whether another more pragmatic candidate from either Aventura, Miami Beach or Sunny Isles may yet emerge and get into the race against three very Liberal candidates, all of whom are Men.

In my estimation, an articulate and personable Moderate candidate focused more on genuine problem-solving, more Transparency and common sense in government, and decidedly less-inclined towards the sort of knee-jerk liberal orthodoxy in the year 2013 that the three current Democratic candidates continually exhibit -candidates who despite lots of time to think of a good answer, STILL CAN'T explain how they'll differentiate themselves before next August's primary- would do quite well in a much-changed legislative district presently represented by term-limited carpetbagger Joe Gibbons.

A district that's changed in important ways and that as of this past November, encompasses everything in the area east of U.S.-1/Biscayne Blvd. at Sheridan Street to State Road A1A, from just south of State Road 84/ Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale on the north, south from Dania to Hollywood and then HB, past Aventura, Eastern Shores, Sunny Isles Beach, North Miami and south of Bal Harbour and Surfside on the east, to the northern parts of Miami Beach.

Among other things, not that you've seen it mentioned anywhere by the South Florida news media, but the new FL-100 has six times as many constituents who classify themselves as Hispanic as African-American.

One of the good points of this profile of the candidates is that it specifically brings up Stand Your Ground, SYG.
Contrary to some Dems & Reps legislators who want to "Amend" SYG to make it "better" by being more specific about the exact circumstances under which it can be employed and used as a valid defense in court -regarding the initiation of contact or what is a reasonable, perceived threat, et al- as the link above says quite clearly, "Amend" is currently supported
by only 31% of FL's population.

So in that respect, both Lewy and Geller are real outliers on this issue by being within that 13% sub-minority that want to kill it entirely by repealing it, putting them in a minority opinion position not only within the state, but in my opinion, also within the immediate area.

Seriously, why would anyone in this area with its constant and well-founded fear of opportunistic crime want to help the criminals and actually make it harder for innocent people to defend themselves?

As a Moderate-to-Conservative person, I think that stand of theirs only further highlights their general incompatibility with this changed district, and their future ineffectiveness if somehow elected to the position.

It's for reasons like that that I continue to believe that a reasonably well-financed Moderate candidate, one who's properly focused on actually fixing problems in the state and improving the area's overall Quality of Life -which HAS clearly been diminishing- and bringing middle-management jobs to Florida, could win the race in November, whether a Democrat or a Republican. 

Even while Geller and Lewy cannibalize each other over the next 12 months over who can be the biggest Liberal before the party primary.

And if that candidate to enter the race believes in what I've set forth as a very sound platform is an articulate and personable Moderate Woman, possibly a savvy and telegenic businesswoman from Aventura or Sunny Isles Beach, even more so.

Sunshine State News, @SSNAlerts  https://twitter.com/SSNAlerts 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keith London writes re "Concerned Citizens of Hallandale" request JLAC to order a CRA Audit and seek an AG opinion; Hallandale Beach citizens wonder if the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) will come to the rescue of Hallandale Beach's beleaguered taxpayers after the "gross mismanagement" of millions of CRA dollars by Mayor Joy Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew, or will they punt?

"Concerned Citizens of Hallandale" request JLAC to order a CRA Audit and seek an AG opinion

Csaba Kulin and I on the future path for Hallandale Beach taxpayers to get overdue accountability on the HB CRA from JLAC, since Comm. Anthony A. Sanders has once again refused to do the right thing by taxpayers, just like he has dozens of times the past few years, where he's actively worked against HB residents/taxpayers best interests, esp. re CRA oversight and accountability

The following is a letter that my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward County civic activist Csaba Kulin and I have been working on the last week or so.


Last week, some of you finally got the opportunity to see Csaba's e-mail to Hallandale Beach Comm. Anthony A. Sanders about the important July 10th meeting of the CRA Board of Directors.

When Csaba was walking up and down the streets of the west side of town last Fall, and bore witness to the angry comments of Hallandale Beach taxpayers and voters, more than once he told me that he wished he'd had a camera crew following him so they could record some of the things he heard residents express to him as he asked for their vote and told them about his position on the issues facing this city that has been so poorly run.

One frustrated Hallandale Beach resident after another said something along the lines of, “We don't see any visible changes as a result of the $70 million spent by the CRA

Many of those same residents said “all the CRA money is spent on the east side of the city.

You'd hardly be surprised to discover that residents on the east side of town did NOT see any signs of CRA-funded improvements, either.

In our opinion, considering how very poorly and incompetently the HB CRA has been handled for so many years by the HB Commissioners acting as the HB CRA Board, which we have made a point of saying out-loud at meetings, the changes that Commissioners Julian and Lazarow asked for regarding the report -which HB City Manager Miller, City Attorney Whitfield and CRA Attorney Zelkowitz co-wrote, that had to be sent to the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, the JLAC- were extremely reasonable and logical from the perspective of ALL of the city's residents.

But unfortunately, despite being given a golden opportunity to do the right thing, yet again, Comm. Sanders failed to step up to the plate and do the right thing by the community so they could get the truth that has long been denied them.

His failure on July 10th, to NOT support the common sense motion made by Julian and seconded by Lazarow, has once again shown him to be someone who is completely tone-deaf to the best interests of the entire community, which is bad for everyone concerned, though he seems not to realize it.

To us, Comm. Sanders seems genuinely in the dark about the true level of his unpopularity across town, and seems to have mastered the art of actually making things worse, and he did just that again last Wednesday night.

Here is what we believe we as a community need to do: 

1.) Ask the JLAC to perform a complete audit of the HB CRA. The residents of our city, especially residents of the CRA district, have a right to know, once and for all, where did the $70 million go? Do you agree?

Dave has already been busy sending certain members of that Committee information about what has been routinely going on here for years, especially the two Co-Chairman, Rep. Ray and Sen. Abruzzo from Palm Beach, as well as Sen. Jeremy Ring, who is from northern Broward.
They are fact-filled emails that really do make the case for JLAC to do an audit that HB residents can all trust.

Dave also believes that HB residents need to take the initiative and should be writing members of JLAC directly, not only about the need for a CRA audit, but also for them to strongly consider the possibility of the Comm. having a "field hearing" here in Hallandale Beach in the coming weeks, like September.

That way, the members can see for themselves how badly things have been done so contrary to what is supposed to be happening, and hear directly from HB residents themselves. 
The Committee members know from what they see and hear around the state that if they don't get ahead of this issue now of what is and isn't appropriate, they will have lots of requests from other CRAs in the future, so better to deal with it now while they can.

Here are the names of the committee members, which is equal parts Democrat and Republican, Senators and Representatives:

2.) Ask the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for an opinion as to what type of expenditures are appropriate for a CRA, especially one for a city our size and with the amount of money we have. We are NOT Orlando or Miami Beach or Gainesville and what we do here should be logical and sensible for this community, not just copying what other larger cities do.

Chapter 163 is the Florida Statute that covers CRAs, so don’t we want to hear what the FL Attorney General has to say?

Mayor Cooper has an opinion, but we're convinced like so many other residents that her's is based almost entirely on her own political self-interest and ego, so that she can brag to her mayoral friends and Florida League of Cities pals around the state about what "her" city is doing. It's always about her.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s hired guns at City Hall have an opinion, but to nobody's surprise, it's the same as her's.

Is it really too much to ask that we get another legal opinion, one that's free of bias and that is also free of charge? 

"What's the harm?" 

That's exactly what Comm. Sanders should've realized and said in voting for the Julian motion but didn't Wednesday night.

3.) Commissioners Julian and Lazarow wanted the City to do the right thing and pay back to the CRA Trust Fund some $400,000 that was specifically identified by the Broward Office of Inspector General (OIG) as NOT being CRA obligations. 

They didn't make it up out of thin air, they got it directly from the report that was so critical of the city's abysmal management controls.

Don’t we want to ensure that every penny illegally spent by the City from the CRA Trust Fund be properly refunded to the CRA for its future use? 

On that count alone, you'd think Comm. Sanders would support the Julian motion, but Comm. Sanders didn't and didn't seem to care what the logical result of that would be.

How many times can we watch him make one bad judgment after another, one bad vote after another, which does real harm to this entire community?

Csaba didn't know who exactly was at the meeting in the Chambers since he was watching via his computer up in Strongsville, but he figured that since this was a chance to make things right for both the CRA and the community at large, and since the above proposals were so obviously beneficial to the CRA district, even Comm. Sanders would be able to see it and support common sense.
Csaba told me the next morning on the phone that like many of you, he, sheepishly, admits that he was wrong -again- in thinking that Sanders would finally do the right thing.

Well, trust us, that's a mistake that nobody in this town will ever make again -assume Comm. Sanders will actually do the right thing by the residents and taxpayers of this city.

While we've run into yet another easily-avoided roadblock to fundamentally reform this community and make it more responsive and transparent to all its residents and business owners, the cause endures and the hope will never die that one day, some day, we'll finally have a government in this city that's truly responsive, honest and fair to its own residents.

But it's going to take a lot of hard work from a lot of serious-minded people, because the people in charge at HB City Hall right now have no plans on changing their ways, and every incentive of trying to keep real reform as far away from City Hall as long as possible.

Please let us now what you think.

#HollywoodFL based photographer/entrepreneur Esther Chuang

#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy
Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of now-closed ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016 Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015
Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. To the right is the world famous beach of Ipanema and to the left is the equally famous beach of Copacabana. In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio looks like, up close, plus the Amazon area of Brazil that Esther grew up near in Manaus, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

A floresta Amazônica tem um papel fundamental no equilíbrio do clima na Terra e, portanto, na vida de cada um de nós. Nos últimos anos a proteção diminuiu e o desmatamento aumentou drasticamente. E o que já era ruim, pode ficar ainda pior. Se as medidas que o governo vem tomando não forem vetadas, nosso futuro estará ameaçado. Diga NÃO à diminuição da proteção da Floresta do Jamanxim! Diga NÃO à exploração de minério no coração da floresta! #TodosPelaAmazônia #342Amazonia #TodosPelaAmazonia Assine a petição: link na bio. ������✨���� The Amazon Rainforest plays a key role in balancing the climate on the Earth and therefore in each of our lives. In recent years, protection has decreased and deforestation has increased sharply. And what was already bad can get even worse. If the measures that the government has been taking are not vetoed, our future will be threatened. Say NO to the reduction of the Jamanxim Forest´s protection! Say NO to ore mining in the heart of the Forest! #togetherfortheAmazon

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on