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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkHealth & Beauty | January 2009 

len's life: A New Year and New Beginnings
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The second annual Come Out in Red (Vístete en Rojo) day is scheduled for the month of February. Check out the video and photos from last year's event below.
Now that we are well into 2009, PV's style and good-looks guru... that would be moi... has a new lease on life. Well, it's more like a new battery - and an implanted one, what's more. Some people call it a walking insurance policy. Whatever. Let me tell you the truth.

First, I'll remind you of my column that your read recently about the Ten Worst Fashion Mistakes of 2008. Remember Numero Uno? It was chisme, which is Spanish for gossip. The reason I called it a fashion mistake is because all beauty, style and fashion start on the inside and then work their way out to create your outer beauty. Gossip is a nasty habit that makes your face ugly and your spirit sour. It's impossible to be involved in constant gossip and be beautiful or truly fashionable at the same time.

Well, I announced that I was going back to the U.S. for a couple weeks in January to have a little tune-up done to my heart. I told you all six months ago that, after a nasty case of double pneumonia, they determined that the cause was congestive heart failure. What I needed was something, like a battery implant, to help my heart beat stronger and more regularly, which in turn helps my breathing. Got it?

Well, some folks - namely the gossips around us - didn't get it. They started the grapevine tale about Len going to the States for open heart surgery. Give me a break. I just had a battery put in, OK?

For those of you who have to know the tiniest and most scientific details of the truth, what they did was implant a Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (or a CRT-D). It's like a pacemaker. It constantly regulates my ventricles (the large heart chambers) so that they pump simultaneously, which had gotten all out of whack when the muscles in the left side of my heart, the side that feeds blood to the lungs, got all weak.

That's why they call it congestive heart failure, because the weak heart makes the lungs get all congested. But not if the ventricles beat simultaneously, which mine do now. My little piece of technological wonder does half a dozen other things, too, keeping my heart in perfect running order. It's only been a couple weeks since they implanted it, and I have twice as much energy as before. Imagine me with twice as much energy. That's scary, right?

Now you know the truth about the healthcare part of len's life of late. And now you know why I feel like this New Year has really brought me a New Beginning. You thought I had a bunch of pizzazz, plenty of opinions and a whole lot of attitude before? Well, hold onto your Calvin's, Folks. 2009 is going to be a whole new ball game.

On the subject of new beginnings and the high season that just kicked off, there are so many activities happening in the next few months that it is hard to keep track of them all. Here are some of my recent highlights ... highlights of len's life. You know, I do have a lot of highlights in my life other than hair highlights!

If you have not been to one of our greatest new restaurants, La Leche, you are seriously missing out on one of the most amazing culinary experiences here in Vallarta. The new totally contemporary and truly stylish look, feel and attitude of an older space in the PV Hotel Zone is truly one of the most amazing makeovers I've seen recently.

With innovative, some say provocative, advertising (got your attention, didn't it; remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity) and, mainly, with the most delicious food that this sometimes-called-snob has tasted in a long time, I know that you will not want to miss this intriguing newcomer to our culinary scene. It's a valid and real 2009 new beginning for Puerto Vallarta.

Another find, off the beaten track, but not far away, is not new. But it is continuing its quiet breed of success, well shielded from the glare and mass hysteria of the Malecon, El Centro and other tourist havens. It is Larry's and my favorite restaurant, bar none, for a peaceful, elegant and delicious, not to mention romantic, dinner for two ...though they frequently entertain parties of 6 or 8, as well.

Casa Naranjo has been a relatively well kept secret by us locals for a couple of years. Located a half dozen blocks east of the more well-beaten calles of the Zona Romantica lies one of the most subdued and casually elegant dining establishments that I have had the pleasure of calling home.

"Home?" you make ask yourself? Yes. We are there that much. With the chef/owner running the open, central and visible kitchen at all times and her friendly family members running everything else, this fantastic dining experience is one not to be missed.

And before I leave the subject, let me give you one of those unexpected Spanish lessons that sometimes show up in this gringo's columns, as if he really knew the language well enough to give anybody a lesson. Anyway, here goes. I did not make a mistake above, using an "o" where I should have used an "a." It is true that naranja is the word for orange. But naranja means the fruit or the color. Naranjo means the tree that the fruit grows on. Never know what will turn up here, do you?

Last, but certainly not least, Mezzagiorno offers THE best Italian being served anywhere on the Bay of Banderas. There is no argument to the contrary that will sway me. Enrique and Sid, former owners of the acclaimed Mezzaluna, which was located in El Centro, now have the most fabulous restaurant imaginable in nearby Bucerias.

I know, I know. It seems like a long drive for dinner, if you live in Vallarta proper. But I will swear to you on my new little battery-operated heart pump that the food and the setting make it worth the drive. I'd drive to Guadalajara for something like Mezzagiorno, and it wouldn't be any better in the big city than it is in Bucerias.

Located in a converted villa right on the beach, and I do mean on the beach, the ambience and elegance that Sid and Enrique have created is remarkable. If you are up for great service, amazing martinis, fresh baked bread, impossibly delicious home-made pasta dishes and the most amazing bruschetta on the planet - all with the moonlight on the water and the small crashing waves just an arm's-length away, or so it seems - then you must put Mezzagiorno at the top of your "things to do in 2009" list.

With February right around the corner, I can think of no better time to remind you about Women's Health Month. Ladies and Gentlemen, this could be the most important month of the year for both of you. For you guys, it's the month to remind your beautiful better half that she is the most important part of your life - and don't you forget it.

At the same time, February will prove an unprecedented opportunity for you women to learn more and focus more on your health. Pam Thompson, of HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta, and her infamous rolodex have more events planned than ever. I do not know where this woman finds her time and energy. (Shhhh! Maybe she has a secret little pacemaker, like mine, stashed away under those perky new breasts of hers. But, don't let me trip and fall into the world of chisme!)

Anyway, in the next couple of weeks I am sure you will see a list of events and speakers, all to do with Women's Health. blu, the salon and spa, itself, will be having our first Rejuvenation of Beauty Event of the new year, entitled "Peeling Your Way Into 2009." With the expertise of Dr. Alma Vargas, great information and an actual peel demonstration will take place right in the salon.

We are also planning a special evening of art and poetry for Valentine's Day 2009. Saturday night, the 14th of February, we'll have a special evening with local author and artist Marcia Wolff at blu from 8 to 10 pm signing her new book of poetry, entitled Frictions Becoming Pearl: a Slow Awakening, for which she drew the inspiration from her own life experiences.

Frictions Becoming Pearl: a Slow Awakening represents women's journeys from the embryonic beginnings of transformation to genuine acceptance. Marcia will grace with a reading or two. She has graciously allowed me to show some of her latest works of art, which are works of love and beauty from the heart.

Romance and fun will be the order of the evening. Both the books and the art will be for sale - and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Puerto Vallarta Women's Heart Health Fund.


So, does that sound like enough new beginnings to kick off 2009? Need one more? I thought you might... The second annual Come Out in Red (Vístete en Rojo) day is also happening in the month of February. Pam and I are working out the date and time, but make sure you have that red dress or hat or T-shirt ready.

Last year we raised a whopping $25,000 pesos from our very successful charity night at Banana Cantina and the actual Come Out in Red event at blu. With that, we were able to start the Puerto Vallarta Women's Heart Health Fund on behalf of ALL the women of Vallarta, so that all can get their hearts checked, even if they are short on dinero. Heart health, needless to say, is a cause near and dear to my heart. And heart health checkups are so, so often overlooked in women.

Well, that's len's life for now. I am beginning to understand where Pam Thompson really gets all her energy. When you believe in and love what you are doing, energy just flows out of you like a bubbling cascade. Maybe they should name a couple of bodies of water after us: Rio Pam and Lago Len. Hmm. The Energizer Bunny in my chest likes the sound of that!
Given that Len's very first word was "more," and the second one was "pretty" it is no wonder that he now is the Stylist Manager in the #1 salon and spa in Puerto Vallarta, blu, but also writes an entertaining and informative beauty column, "len's life." Whatever you hair may or may not need, Len will know exactly what to do or where to go to find the answer - just send him an email at len(at)blubylen.com.

Click HERE for more articles by Len.



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