A few weeks ago, I got a close look at the 2017 Continental at the Bel-Aire Hotel with Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse and Chief Engineer of the Continental, Michael Celentino. From the start, Woodhouse and Celentino were lockstep in describing the overall vibe of the car with a slew of words that highlighted the “quiet luxury” approach that’s at the core of Lincoln’s revamped marketing approach.
Elegant. Serene. Warm. Beautiful. These words just rolled off the tongue of Lincoln’s design director. And he’s not wrong. The 2017 Continental is all of these things. Maybe it was the British accent, the younger Jonathan Pryce-like delivery or the aptness of the adjectives, but I found myself agreeing with Woodhouse quite a bit. Meeting this car for the first time is an experience worthy of hyperbole.
Celentino was quite convincing as well. He described what went into the four and a half years of development to bring back a Lincoln worthy of the name Continental. Celentino and his team spent a lot of upfront time trying to figure out a direction. They drew a lot of inspiration from some of the iconic Continentals of old. Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1940 Lincoln Continental. The Continental Mark II of the 1950s driven by Frank Sinatra. And the long presidential Lincoln Continental of the 1960s made famous by JFK.
“We didn’t want to go retro, but we wanted to acknowledge these cars,” Celentino said. And as inspiring as these classics were, “they were also a little intimidating, too.”
Woodhouse said that they looked at “brutalisitc themes” and “progressive themes” in order to arrive at something “not too old school, not too progressive.”
“We deliberately went down this middle road to find that balance,” Woodhouse explained.
According to Woodhouse, the new signature face of Lincoln happened through this program. This was a big source of inspiration as the Continental was being developed.
“I always feel that chrome is more exuberant and more American, he said.”
That grill, though. It just works. With all the elegance and serenity and other superlatives at play, the front face of this Lincoln Continental is its most distinctive feature. There’s no way around it, this car is handsome.
Relaxed Approach to Luxury
The 2017 Continental comes in 2.7 L V6, 3.0 L V6, 3.7 L V6 options that vary from 305 to 400hp. Full specs can be found here. But let’s face it, if you’re looking to get a Lincoln Continental of your own, specs aren’t your primary concern.
Specs are nice and all, but as Celentino explained, “the emphasis is on smoothness and smooth shifts.” This is still a 5,000 lb. car. With adaptive front steering, adaptive cruise control, auto hold brake and tires that shift to guide you through turns, Continental’s chief engineer just wants drivers to enjoy the ride.
“When you’re on the 405, just calm down and let the car drive,” Celentino said.
Both Woodhouse and Celentino admit that Lincoln is not trying to chase their top rivals in the luxury space. To them, performance is important, but to focus strictly on performance is so very German. Lincoln’s approach to luxury is different.
“Luxury is more about wellness,” Woodhouse told me. “We’re taking a more relaxed approach.”
And the wellness is real. From the first glance, you can see it. There’s the “relaxed gesture from front to rear” and “right stance and gesture on the road” that Woodhouse described to me. There’s the soft release of the electronic door latching, the first touch point of the car. At night, drivers and passengers are treated to a friendly embrace as they approach the Continental. This warm hello comes in the form of extra floor and interior lights that illuminate before you enter the car.
In short, the 2017 Lincoln is basically a high-end day spa on wheels. And that was very much the intention.
“We want you to look forward to your 20 to 30-minute drive,” Celentino said, “and arrive a little more refreshed.”
That approach is what gets you things like the 30-way adjustable Perfect Comfort Seat. You got options for upper and lower back adjustments, massage time and thigh adjustment. Drivers tend to place more or less weight on one leg all the time. Setting each leg at a different stance is just another way to settle into this comfy living room chair that just happens to live in a car. Woodhouse said that people didn’t want to get out of the seats during testing.
I believe it. It’s a lot like leaving the massage chair in Brookstone when your lady wants to keep shopping at the mall. You just always end up wanting a few more minutes in that seat before you go about your business for the day.
But you can’t have quiet luxury without the quiet, and as Celentino described, the 2017 Continental is “the quietest Lincoln ever.” Acoustic glass is found all around, including the back, because the back cabin is equally important in this car.
Understanding the Chinese Market
This focus on comfort in the back was a product of market research, specifically in China. Both Woodhouse and Celentino were keen to underscore the influence of Chinese market sensibilities in the design and development of the new Continental.
In China, luxury car customers are often driven around during the week and drive themselves on the weekends. This caused Lincoln to pay more attention to the rear passenger experience. The result was the rear seat amenities package.
The goal is to maximize controls from the rear seat. Things like full recline, massage, heat, lumbar support, Revel audio controls and available USB are in the mix. Customers in China can feel all the comforts of the Continental no matter where they’re seated, whether they’re leveraging the quiet rear cabin for a business meeting, being driven around long distances or taking the wheel themselves.
China was the third country to see the 2017 Continental, after Lincoln launched in the US and Canada, so the market is clearly an important one for the American brand. According to Forbes, Lincoln’s sales in China were up 191% year over year in the third quarter of 2016. Celentino said that China will be the biggest luxury market in the world by 2019 or 2020, and Lincoln plans to have 60 dealerships open in China by the end of the year.
Ending on a High Note
Part of my day out with the 2017 Lincoln Continental included a visit to The Village Studios, a former masonic temple that was converted into a recording studio in the 1960s. Located just off Santa Monica Blvd, right near the 405 in West LA, The Village has been home to some pretty amazing recording sessions. The Stones recorded “Angie” there. Heart recorded “Barracuda” there. This is the spot where Dr. Dre and Snopp Dogg recorded the Chronic.
We met up at The Village with electronic music producer Photek and previewed the Revel audio system, a major highlight of the 2017 Lincoln Continental.
Perched in front of a sweet, 48 channel Neve Mixing Console that was built in 1972 and shipped over years ago from Chicago, Photek broke down a few tracks for us, going through the different component parts of two remixes (including Photek’s remix of “One Love” from Bob Marley and the Wailers) and a new track he was working on.
“The car is the test ground for a lot of music as you’re making it,” Photek said. It’s the best spot for “listening to the version in the works.”
And what better way to preview a working track than a day spa on wheels with the best in-car sound system ever created?
Seriously though, the Revel sound system in the 2017 Lincoln Continental is no joke. Revel has an exclusive deal with Lincoln and rolled out their first car sound system in the MKX. The Revel team dictated the placement of all 19 speakers in the car. The attention to detail is just unimaginable.
Imagine a car stereo system where all sounds it each passenger at the same time a magnitude. Where smooth distribution of high frequency sounds is a goal of in-door waveguides. Where shorting rings provide a sound so crisp you’ll hear parts of songs you never knew where there. Where you can adjust your experience to listen to stereo, onstage or audience modes.
Now imagine a sound system that actually uncompresses your music files. This is the next level quantum logic system from Revel that’s in place in the Conintental. All your compressed MP3 files and streaming music sources are injected with a fullness that opens up frequencies and provides a richer sounding listening. It’s great way to earn back those frequencies we all tend sacrifice in the name of convenience.
If you’re not a fidelity nerd and you don’t care about frequencies and waveguides and distortion and all that, that’s okay. You don’t really have to worry about that stuff. Revel spent the last 19 years trying to sort it all out. You just need to know that this is the best sound system you’ve ever experienced in a car. Period.
The entry price for the 2017 Lincoln Continental is about $45,000. The price point gets into the high 70s for the super sweet Black Label rear seat amenity loaded Continentals that I checked out. If you’re into being comfy in any seat, enjoying a smooth ride in a dapper car with some serious history or if you just love music so much that you want to spend more time listening to tunes in your car than living life outside of it, the first Lincoln Continental to come out since 2002 is definitely worth checking out.
As we look in at the year 2016 we think about the good times and the bad times. It looks like Google was doing the same thing. Google has just released their “Year In Search” results. According to Google’s findings, the Old Fashioned placed sixth in the most searched cocktails of the entire year. So as you are preparing for your New Year’s Eve themed-party or your relaxed night in, a perfect way to celebrate 2016 is to enjoy one of the six delicious and unique Old Fashioned recipes that are below.
1.25 oz. Bulleit Rye
.25 oz. Demerara Syrup
3 Dashes Orange Bitters
1 Grind Black Walnut Liqueur
I.W. Harper Old Fashioned
Spoon of Brown Sugar
Dash of Angostura Orange Bitters
2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
Garnish with Orange Twist
Banana Bread Old Fashioned
0.5 oz. Banane du Bresil
0.25 oz. Allspice Dram
1 Dash Black Walnut Bitters
Vanilla Old Fashioned
1.5 oz. Crown Royal Vanilla
0.25 oz. Simply Syrup
3 Dashes Orange Bitters
Orange Peel Twist
The Hilhaven Lodge Old Fashioned
1.5 oz. of The Hilhaven Lodge Blended Straight American Whiskey
3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
1 Orange Peel
Tennessee Old Fashioned
1 oz. George Dickel No. 12 Whisky
1 tsp. Sugar
0.25 oz. Bitters
1 Splash Water
Technology is now helping out your dinner plans. If you have Alexa Voice Service from Amazon then you can now order Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut, recognized as the pizza restaurant company which serves and delivers more pizzas than any other pizza company in the world, is expanding its ordering capabilities to include Alexa Voice Service on Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets. With a simple phrase, and not a single phone or laptop lifted, Pizza Hut’s new skill brings ease and convenience to the ordering experience for pizza-loving homes across the country.
The Pizza Hut skill differs from any pizza brand in the space by providing Alexa users with the convenience of ordering not only your favorites and past orders, but also directly from a menu of the most popular items from Pizza Hut.
Menu options include:
Veggie Lover’s® Pizza
Meat Lover’s® Pizza
Voice command options include:
“Alexa, open Pizza Hut.”
“Alexa, ask Pizza Hut for a pizza.”
This holiday season you might want to pick up some Smirnoff No. 21 and Smirnoff Peppermint Twist for your holiday party. Both of them are both delicious, budget-friendly ingredients for festive cocktails at any of your holiday gatherings this season. We even have some delicious recipes for you to enjoy responsibly.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
1.5 ounces Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka
8 ounces Hot Chocolate
3-4 Peppermint Marshmallows
Chocolate Peppermint Martini
3 ounces Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka
2 ounce crème de cacao
1 ounce chocolate liquor
2 ounce cream chocolate sauce & crushed peppermint for garnish
3 ounces Smirnoff Vodka
3 ounces Irish cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces cream
Whipped Cream & Crushed Gingerbread cookies for garnish
The Peppermint Knitted Nog
1.5oz Smirnoff Peppermint Twist,
Crushed Peppermint Candy & Whipped Cream for garnish
Cranberry Holiday Punch
32 ounces (1/2 container) Cranberry-Raspberry Juice
32 ounces (1/2 container) Pineapple Juice
2 Liter Cranberry Lemon-Lime Pop
750 mL bottle Smirnoff Vodka
Sliced Lemon, Limes & Frozen Cranberries for garnish
Pro Beach Volleyball Player Phil Dalhausser introduces you to the South Bay of Los Angeles, home of the famed Manhattan Beach, The Strand, and sun-soaked volleyball courts. I got to chat with 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist about why he loves LA and a bit on his training for the Olympics.
Phil started playing beach volleyball in 2005 and enjoyed a break-out year in 2006 when he partnered with Todd Rodgers, an 11 years veteran of professional beach volleyball. Since teaming up, the duo has become one of the best beach volleyball teams of all time. In the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Phil and Todd won the gold medal match two sets to one against Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz Magalhaes of Brazil. Dalhausser made nine blocks in the championship match, with five coming in the deciding third set, putting the U.S. up to a 9-1 lead and eventually winning it 15-4. Dalhausser was named tournament MVP. Phil’s nickname on the tour was the “Thin Beast” and later became “Beijing Beast” after his performance in China.
To listen to the interview click HERE.
Discover all the rad things LA offers HERE.
This time of the year friends and family will ask you that dreaded question, “What do you want for Christmas?” That is a nice question to ask, but then you freeze up because you don’t know what to say. Well we got you covered this year. Here are some of the hottest items that you would love to see under the tree that has your name on the gift tag. Plus some of the items might not fit under the tree. The only question left is have you been naughty or nice?
2017 smart fortwo coupe – Starting at $14,650
Treat them to style that is “smart” this holiday season. Besides having a combined fuel efficiency rating of 35mpg, the new 2017 smartfortwo coupe is the most efficient of any two-seater or subcompact car as rated by the EPA.
2017 smartfortwo cabrio – Starting at $18,900
Now on sale in U.S. dealers, the all-new 2017 smart fortwo cabrio is the most affordable new convertible on the market. At the touch of a button the new smart cabrio is transformed from a closed two-seater into a car with a large sliding canvas sunroof, or a full-fledged cabriolet with the soft top completely open.
Patagonia Men’s Recycled Down Jacket Shirt – $199
Insulated with 600-fill-power 100% recycled down that’s reclaimed from used down products, this warm, highly compressible shirt has the fit and feel of a lightweight jacket and is made almost entirely from recycled materials.
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link – $599.99
Part of being smart includes being aware. According to Dyson, indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outside. The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link heats and cools purified air to keep the home safe and clean. This purifier can also link to your smartphone to constantly monitor air quality.
Nest Learning Thermostat – $249
The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is best yet. This thermostat learns what temperature you like, and adjusts accordingly. Connect it to your phone and you can control it from anywhere. The Nest Learning Thermostat can also detect when you’re away, setting itself to an Eco Temperature to save energy. Saving energy and cutting costs is the best gift you can give.
Sense Home Energy Monitor – $249
Do you have someone in your life with a sky-high energy bill, and they don’t know what’s causing it? That’s where Sense comes in. The device wirelessly connects to your phone and from there, you can see exactly what appliances are using energy and how much each day – continuing to keep an energy-conscious eye open.
There were a lot of great kicks that are coming out this month to round out 2016! Reebok Classics is adding to that list with an OG sneaker. The Year of the Question started with the Prototype, and as it nears the end, comes back with a classic.
For one of the final installments of the 20th anniversary of the Reebok Question Mid in 2017, Reebok is re-releasing the Question Mid OG Blue Toe, which Allen Iverson wore on the court regularly in his rookie year, and was the shoe he wore during his iconic “crossover” moment.
The style of the shoe is emblematic of his game; the Hexalite midsole construction, bold shades, and ice sole complemented his game and team’s classic colors. The crisp white leather upper is the perfect canvas for vibrant red hits of the classic Vector branding on the tongue and side panels.
The Reebok Classic Question Mid OG Blue Toe releases this Friday, December 9 for $140 at Reebok.com and select retailers including Finish Line, Footaction and Champs Sports.
You can also go check out the full collection of 20 for 20 Year of the Question at reebok.com/2020.
Looking for a new drink? How about something mixes a bubbly refreshing drink with some alcohol? Seltzers have long been a top choice when it comes to mixers, so it is no surprise that hard seltzers are quickly becoming one of the new favorite bubbly alcohol beverage options for adult consumers. SMIRNOFF Spiked Sparkling Seltzer premium malt beverage is the newest addition to the hard seltzer category — but with fewer calories than the leading hard seltzer brands currently on the market.
In addition to only being 90 calories per 12 oz. serving, the new premium malt beverage has only 1g carbs, zero sugar and no artificial sweeteners. When reaching for bubbly this holiday season, go for SMIRNOFF Spiked Sparkling Seltzer, as one 12 oz. can offers the same calories as only one 4 oz. glass of most champagnes.
Consumers 21 years of age and older will be able to pick up SMIRNOFF Spiked Sparkling Seltzer in three refreshing-tasting flavors – Orange Mango, Cranberry Lime and Watermelon beginning in November. Served chilled in its slimline can, the three flavors are crafted to remove gluten and are infused with natural fruit flavors.
SMIRNOFF Spiked Sparkling Seltzer is 4.5% alcohol by volume and is best served chilled in the 12 oz. slimline cans or in a glass on the rocks with a fruit garnish. The new product will be available nationwide with a manufacturer’s recommended retail price of $8.99 for a 6-pack of 12 oz. cans.
SMIRNOFF asks consumers to enjoy this bubbly goodness responsibly.
One of the great things about this part of the year is that people reflect on what they have and what is really important to them. That notion set the idea of #GivingTuesday in motion. Crown Royal is looking to help too. They started the “Live Generously and Life Will Treat You Royally” campaign. Their mission is to inspire and facilitate generosity in all of its many forms. In celebration of #GivingTuesday, Crown Royal is partnering with GoodWorld, a tech startup that fuels charitable giving on social media. Together they are encouraging people to support worthy causes by commenting #donate on participating charities’ Facebook posts, tweeting #donate at a cause’s username or by signing up at GoodWorld.me to trigger real-time donations.
As an incentive, Crown Royal will donate $1 to our longstanding partners at Packages From Home for every person who registers with GoodWorld between #GivingTuesday and the end of the year, up to $50,000. Crown Royal and Packages From Home have worked together to send nearly half a million Crown Royal Care Packages to active duty troops overseas over the past five years. If you are looking to help out go to GoodWorld.me or packagesfromhome.org
If you truly believe that you are the number one fan for your team you need to check out the one of kind Bluetooth speaker from Nima Sports. It will improve your office, TV room, or wherever you want to show off your team pride. Just in time for the holidays you can get a gift for the sports fan on your list or even for yourself.
Just imagine you sitting in your house watching your favorite college football team on TV and you wanted to hear your favorite radio host call the game. With the Nima Sports helmet speaker you can. You just sync up your new football helmet speaker to your phone. Then just mute the TV and listen to the game from your favorite college team’s helmet. Even when it is not game day you can listen to your favorite sports talk shows that discuss your team’s performance from the weekend or listen to music.
There are three sizes for each helmet. You can pick up any size and you will be happy with your purchase. I was able to test out the small version of the Auburn Tigers helmet and was very pleased with the performance of the speaker as well as the look of the helmet. There are certain Bluetooth speakers that spend too much time on the design of the speaker and neglect the performance of that speaker. You can tell once it starts trying to play off your synced device. The sound quality is poor and at some points even irritating. Then there are others that focus way too much on the speaker. The look of that speaker is flimsy and often tends break and looks horrible in your office or game room. So you end up with a speaker that either under delivers in sound or look. Why would you spend money on that?
For the Nima Sports helmet speaker you can instantly tell that they put their heart and soul into the development of the design and sound. Any sports fans will tell you that when they rep their team they want something that looks authentic and real. Nima provides that slick look. These helmet speaker look like a mini version of the helmets they wear on game day.
What about the sound from the Nima Sports helmet? It comes with one down firing subwoofer for massive bass beats, two midrange speakers for clear sound, and seven preset equalizer options. The NIMA Sports helmet is compatible with any Smartphone, Tablet, MP3, PC or Mac with Bluetooth connectivity. Stream wirelessly and seamlessly control every feature of the speaker from anywhere within 65 feet. So this helmet from Nima is perfect for when you are tailgating right before the game.
Nima developed with the goal of connecting the sports fan with the music that invigorates them. The speakers come as extremely realistic NCAA team helmets, with NFL helmets and NBA basketball are soon to be released. From pumping up your fellow fans at a tailgate to displaying your team pride at work, this helmet is the perfect way to fervently display your fandom. The products come in various sizes, please check out the website for further details.