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Amazon Introduces Three New Cutting-Edge Kindles

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Amazon today announced some big news in the world of portable devices, with the release of three new, crazy affordable products that are expected to really shake things up in the marketplace.

Amazon Kindle Fire
Finally, Amazon enters into the über competitive world of tablets. And from what I can tell, they did it well and will be a force to be reckoned with. While the Fire doesn’t have all the assets you’ll get with an iPad and other tablets—there’s no camera, mic, and it’s not 3G/4G-compatible—it is the perfect (and affordable) happy medium for folks who want a mobile, web-ready device, but really have no use for all the fancy bells and whistles that come with other tablets. Initial public testing shows that it’s lightning-fast, visually crisp (the pixels-per-inch ratio actually exceeds the iPad, meaning the display is noticeably better), and at just 14.6 ounces, it’s super lightweight. Oh, and did I mention? It might only have 8GB storage, but it utilizes Amazon’s amazingly efficient cloud technology, which means there’s no need for files to be downloaded onto the tablet in order for you to access them. And the best part? The Fire will be introduced to the market at the astoundingly low cost of just $199.

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China Launches Gold Vending Machines

China, already the world's second largest bullion consumer, has installed the country's first gold vending machine in a busy shopping district in Beijing, state media said on Sunday.

Shoppers in the popular Wangfujing Street can insert cash or use a bank card to withdraw gold bars or coins of various weights based on market prices, the People's Daily said on its website.

Each withdrawal is capped at 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) or one million yuan (about $156,500) worth of gold, the report said.

Gold vending machines already exist in Britain, the United States, the Middle East and Europe.

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Online Shopping Made Easy

online shopping

The cluttered realm of online shopping is becoming a little more refined thanks to a new breed of websites that deliver the goods with a highly selective approach. By asking tastemakers to step in as guest curators, they give you insider, and often exclusive, access to items from around the world. Ahalife.com allows you to buy one unique item daily from international designers. Whether it’s a cotton pestemal (hammam towel) made by local artisans in Buldan, Turkey, or a hand-beaded, tribal-chic necklace from London-based jeweler Fiona Paxton, everything is chosen by notable travelers such as Daniel Boulud or Petra Nemcova.

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Lamu, Kenya: New Hot Spots

Lamu, Kenya

This far-flung archipelago has become the location of choice for the style set. T+L drops in to check out the latest openings.

The Glamorous Retreat: Originally a private residence for a wealthy Italian family, the Majlis (Manda Island; 254/204-441-164; doubles from $841, including meals) has been converted into a 24-room resort with soaring beamed ceilings, two sexy pools, and lanterns everywhere.

The Authentic Find: Red Pepper House (Coconut Beach; 254/727-606-691; doubles from $1,450, including meals) celebrates Swahili design: its thatched-roof bungalows are modeled after native houses. The resort also helps fund a hospital and an orphanage nearby.

The Afforable Hideaway: At the Moon Houses (254/722-209-490; doubles from $290), a series of chic villas scattered around the islands, you’ll have plenty of privacy—plus, a personal chef to cook fish caught that very morning.

The Must-Visit Shop: African fashion designer Anna Trzebinski (Sea Suq, Shela; 254/720-292-024) chose Lamu for her first freestanding shop. The waterfront space is stocked with her trademark beaded sandals, embellished caftans, and feather-trimmed pashminas.

Photo by Jonathan Bloom

Classic Fashion: The Mens White Shirt

men's white shirt

Whether you’re packing for a business trip or a weekend getaway, you can’t go wrong with this classic look.

Clean Cut: Cotton shirts, clockwise from top left: Thomas Pink, $195; Prada, $375; Carolina Herrera, $990; Theory, $235.

Photo by John Lawton

Gift for Traveling Wine Lovers

inflatable wine carrier

Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine.  He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane.  Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.

I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world.   The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.

Vinnibag is available for $28 from local retailers, Vinnibag.com, or on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Ellessco.

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Shops from a Can: DeKalb Market Opens in Brooklyn

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What do you do with a stack of pre-Credit Crisis megaloplex plans and a 1.5 million square foot, post-Crisis cement hole?  Why, make lemonade, of course!

Since 2008, not-Ft. Greene-not-DUMBO (NoFUMBO?) has awaited 60 stories of neo-ultra-Wow where Brooklyn’s Albee Square Mall once stood.  We’ve scanned the Brownstoner and wondered, watching that blue plywood fence sway in the wind.  Till now.

Now, from Manhattan Bridge to DeKalb, Flatbush Ave. is transformed.  Kiosks direct tourists and Manhattanites. That blue fence?  Gone.

Instead, broad steps descend past produce beds to a canopied dining area.  Shipping containers become boutiques, concessions, a radio station...

Downtown Brooklyn, meet DeKalb Market.  DeKalb Market, DoBro (as promoters say).  Lemonade, anyone?

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Jack Rogers' Flagship Store Now Open in New York

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In my quest for a comfortable, super-stylish summer shoe, one winner has emerged time and again: the famed Jack Rogers Navajo sandal. I can toss a couple of pairs in my suitcase and feel confident that, while on the road, I’m set for any casual or dressy occasion.

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On Our Radar: Paris Shopping

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Where do chic Parisians shop these days? Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent Tina Isaac shares her insider tips here:

For jewelry go to . . .

White Bird
Around the corner from the glittering heavy artillery in the Place Vendôme, Stéphanie Roger’s newly opened WhiteBird jewelry gallery specializes in stylishly singular - and comparatively affordable- niche brands from around the world, almost all of them designed by women (Jean Grisoni is the lone exception). (34 rue du Mont Thabor, 1st.)

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Editor's Pick: Santa Fe's Global Folk Art Festival

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There are many reasons to visit Santa Fe in the summer—the museums and art galleries, the chamber music festival, the Santa Fe Opera—not to mention, the city’s restaurants or its glorious high desert setting, but the best reason for this weekend (July 8-10) is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

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