It's summertime and the living is easy. Or so it would seem for the readers of 944, which focuses this month on travel.

I'm traveling myself as I write, but unlike the typical 944 reader - image-conscious, with a high disposable income -- I'm stuck at a Howard Johnson's. I'd rather be at the Cambria Suites up the road, but they aren't pet-friendly. I'll give up the Wolfgang Puck coffee if it means having my small dog at my side.

Accommodations aside, the travel destinations featured in this month's issue are right up my alley. A fantastic article titled "Cheap and Chic: Boutique Hotels That Won't Break The Bank" gives the lowdown on 17 hotels that charge less than $170 per night. (This HoJo's is $140 a night and definitely isn't as funky as Loft 523 in New Orleans, which is a mere $109 a night.) This is a rip-and-save article -- it seriously makes me want to hit the road to places like Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I may not fit the magazine's demo, but I do appreciate a hip hotel.

Speaking of demos, 944 targets 21- to 38-year-old affluent trendsetters and focuses on fashion, entertainment, lifestyle and event information. The magazine circulates in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.944's mother ship, 944 Media LLC , expanded its reach to Atlanta and Detroit earlier this year by acquiring the assets of Six Degrees magazine.

Founded in 2001, the conglomerate capitalizes on a hyper-local publishing model that balances regional and national content, while an immediate print turnaround allows each issue to hit the streets within 24 hours of close. Through a supply chain distribution platform, 944 Media circulates more than 4 million copies per year, with placement in 25,000 luxury hotel rooms nationwide.

Stats aside, it's really a perfect summertime read: light but interesting. You won't find stories about the war in Afghanistan or the still-tanking national economy, but hey, don't we get enough of that every day online and on TV? When I'm sitting in my lounge chair, I'd much rather read about why I should plan a trip to India. The photography for this article is very striking. Despite my annoyance with the call center folks over there (who admittedly are just doing their jobs), I could lock this in as a travel destination for the food alone. They had me at curry and cardamom.

I also "discovered" an interesting new band that was featured in the Focus: All Access section. The profile on Stellastarr* (yes, the asterisk is kind of affected) prompted me to check out their Web site. What's not to love about a New York band that calls the Pixies and The Cure their inspirations? The lurid artwork on the band's latest CD cover was created by bassist and vocalist Amanda Tannen, who tells the magazine that the contortionist figure bleeding from the head is either dancing or dead. Hmmm, add The Smiths to their list of influences.

All of the short pieces under the header 944 Picks were good reads. I was especially happy to see a new book about my architectural hero, Frank Lloyd Wright, featured. However, I am slightly embarrassed to confess I was very interested in the piece on the new Seven Nyne spray tanner developed in part by Lindsay Lohan. I don't know why I would trust any product that that poor girl had a part in, but I am intrigued by the idea of turning my pale Irish/Russian skin into something with a bronze hue. Maybe I've been watching too many episodes of "Denise Richards: It's Complicated." She seems to get a spray tan about every other week.

Another rip-and-save article might be one under the 944 Picks: Libations header featuring a half page of sangria recipes. I might need to slide this in front of a bartender and say "make this for me." Sometimes I like to play "stump the mixologist," but usually I just want the drink to show up fast and tasty. Hey, it's summertime and the livin' ought to be easy.


Published by: 944 Media LLC


Frequency: Monthly

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