Market Watch – Time to Rebalance

Investor optimism has risen a bit lately and it is easy to see why. The world’s equity markets have rallied quite dramatically since October of last year. While such positive sentiment is by no means unanimous, optimism clearly is climbing. This is hardly a surprise given such strong gains over the last few months. Of course, there is considerable debate over the staying power of this bull market. I don’t know what the future holds, but I feel now would be a good time to consider rebalancing your accounts.

The process of rebalancing forces an investor to sell high and buy low. Many people recommend rebalancing on regular intervals. Some say to do it at least annually and some as often as quarterly. I believe it is better to let the market tell you when to rebalance. I preferred to rebalance after we have seen a sustained period of either strong or weak returns in the markets. This helps keep the risk level of your portfolio consistent with your plan and avoids being overexposed to stocks before a downturn or being underexposed during an upturn. Think of the markets like you do your health.  When are you most likely to catch a cold? After a sustained period of good health. When do you get better? After you have been sick a while. Markets are not much different.

Let’s take a simple example from the last few months; suppose an investor’s portfolio stood at $1,000,000 just a few months ago on October 1, 2011 and on that day the investment mix was right at their risk targeted allocation of 60% stocks (represented by the S&P 500 Index) and 40% bonds (represented by the Barclay’s Capital Aggregate Bond Index). By the end of February 2012, only five short months, the strong relative performance of stocks over bonds would have increased the stock allocation to 64% and resulted in a portfolio value of $1,132,168. That’s an over 13% gain in just five months! While it is always nice to enjoy positive returns like this in a short period of time, it is also an appropriate time to consider rebalancing. Taking profits on the stock portion and reallocating it to lower risk bonds in this example would make sense for an investor concerned with maintaining a consistent risk level in their portfolio.

Clearly, it is important to review your mix of assets from time to time. Rebalancing the mix back to an appropriate level will help an investor guard against being over or under exposed to equities at the wrong time. This is especially important at moments like now when optimism has increased and everything is beginning to feel fine.

Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a principal of Walnut Creek Wealth Management. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and should not be construed as investment advice. Rebalancing may be a taxable event, before taking any specific action be sure to consult with your tax professional. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Not all recommendations are suitable for all investors. Each investor must consider their own goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or Damien@WalnutCreekWealth.com.

 

Flashback Fashion

It’s an ‘80s flashback! I can almost hear my favorite Wham song, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” while eating frozen yogurt with my college BF (boyfriend) who is now my H (husband) of 25 years. The spring trends of 2012 have taken me back to my “bang-wall” days—a serious fashion déjà vu.  So, what do you do when trends come back, and in some cases, haunt you?  Follow these tips to successfully navigate the ‘80s AGAIN:

Photo 1

*Wear ‘80s trends in small doses, especially if this is your second time around.  Bold floral prints are everywhere this season—jackets, tops, bottoms and accessories. Start with one bold piece, and complete the look with modern elements (photo 1), not a jumpsuit featuring a head-to-toe ‘80s garden of delight (photo 2).

Photo 2

*Color, especially neon, was a must-have in the ‘80s, and it’s back like crazy. My favorite take on color this season are jeans in every shade of the rainbow. Kelly green jeans (photo 3) are a fun and easy way to put POP in your wardrobe. A hint about neon: make sure the color compliments your skin tone. Otherwise, a girl can appear less chic, more sick.

 

*Lace is back. This time, it’s more lady-like and polished than the edgy way Madonna wore it thirty years ago. And, if you prefer an even more classic look, a lace top (photo 4) with colorful pencil pants will give you more of an Audrey Hepburn vibe. Who doesn’t love that?

Photo 3

*Lastly, do not grab your old clothes out of the attic (or heaven forbid, your closet!) and wear them again. Over the course of the last 30 years, life experience has taught me one thing…I am not a girl anymore. As much as I would love to fit into my acid wash Guess jeans with the ankle zipper, I know that my sense of style has matured. And I like it! However, I will enjoy watching my 20-year-old daughter find her way through the colors, floral prints, and over-sized, off-the-shoulder tops, and she’ll emerge just like I did, with her true personal style intact.

Photo 4

If I see you wearing a scrunchie, I’ll have to “Get Physical!”

For style tips and trends, go to Carolyn Rovner’s blog at C2style.com/blog and subscribe by clicking the “subscribe” button on the right side of the page.

Lessons From A Scandal

The Dirty Dui/P.I. Moms/Contra Costa Narcotics Scandal just won’t quit.

In the latest bomb a former New York state deputy turned actor, who moonlighted as a private eye (or was it the other way around?), went on the record with the San Francisco Chronicle talking about how he is the informant in the case against Butler and disgraced former county narcotics commander Norman Wielsch. The two and other law enforcement associates are accused of running a soup-to-nuts criminal enterprise that would make Harvey Keitel’s character in The Bad Lieutenant blush.

I never knew Chris Butler other than having a professional relationship with him over the phone and talking a couple times a year. I knew him as a competent, professional private investigator skilled at both video recording and setting up video systems. Let’s just say he had advanced technical and investigative abilities.

Butler used his skills to sting unlicensed private investigators, shown by ABC-7’s investigative team. In a case where we had a common target, he used an undercover investigator to get a covert recording of a psychic offering to make cancer go away if she was paid hundreds of dollars.

The first time I ever thought something was odd with Butler was when The East Bay Express ran a glowing profile of him and his firm in May 2007. The article was called “The Honeytrappers” and it detailed how Butler used attractive female operatives to catch cheating husbands. Many of my professional colleagues looked sideways at this. And yes, there was some professional jealousy. But most private eyes feel uncomfortable using undercover agents in garden variety domestic cases. (A cheater is going to cheat, it just might take a few times to catch him or her.)

One potential red flag in the Honeytrappers article was that it said he had been on the Antioch Police Department but just resigned and cashed out his pension to start his agency. Most private investigators who are former law enforcement come to the private sector after long, long careers. Some of the others perhaps were forced out. I don’t know the circumstances of Butler leaving the force, where he had worked with co-defendant Wielsch.

Another of Butler’s marketing tools was the “P.I. Moms” for a reality show. It seemed that he was everywhere. Butler had all the tools and abilities to make an excellent living doing corporate or legal investigations but is alleged to have engaged in: running a brothel, selling methamphetamine and other drugs and the now infamous “Dirty Duis” where his undercover agents drank with subjects who drove off and were arrested by Butler’s associates in various area police departments. It seemed like he was bent on being a television star.

As private investigators, we are business people. I admit, I have an ego and like some publicity. It’s just that serious private dicks don’t want to be too well-known. The Chris Butler story is a cautionary one about ambition. He was using methods that amount to short cuts. If a case is going to be in a court it’s all about having the moral high ground and getting evidence legally. Any client such as a lawyer, a business or a private party should know their investigator and how they operate. Ignorance is not bliss.

Beauty News – Burberry Cosmetics are Stylish and Elegant

Burberry fashions have always been a favorite of mine. It is a luxury brand with a distinctive British sensibility, all while being effortless, trendy, and classic. I love their structured designs and beautifully tailored trenchcoats. Their stylish look is well known and has been seen on A list models and celebrities worldwide.

Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it and, of course, have the openness to be inspired. Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer of Burberry has continued to keep the design fresh and innovative with a new concept…Cosmetics! Burberry Beauty was born. In 2010, Burberry Beauty celebrated its worldwide launch with a gorgeous campaign shot in London featuring British models Lily Donaldson, Nina Porter and girl du jour Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Early this Spring I was asked to do a review of the Spring Burberry Beauty Collection, since it was launching at Nordstrom in March, I was intrigued and honored. I find for myself that the worlds of art and fashion often collide, inspiring me daily, sometimes consciously, sometimes by happenstance. When I received the package of the beauty collection I was excited about the cosmetic treats and opened it with curiosity. The packaging was gorgeous with the iconic Burberry check stamped on each of the glossy metallic beauty tools. As I opened the lipsticks I noticed the magnetic closure and beautifully handcrafted embossed check they engraved on the lipstick as inspired by core Burberry icons and fabric details.

The new spring lip colors are very neutral and soft as reflected in their clothing line. I liked the fact that you can add them to your existing cosmetics and it will enhance them. Anyone could wear these hues with confidence; yet have their own personal style. They are subtle, breathable, lightweight and modern. The lip-glosses are nice and hydrating and have a cute glossy metal engraved at the top. The Nude Rose lip-gloss was a hit with all the girls at The Rouge; it looked natural yet different on everyone.

When you’re out on the town wearing your Burberry trenchcoat, slide out your Burberry Beauty lip-gloss and be oh-so-chic with your new up-to-date British style. Now all I need is a Burberry Trenchcoat and a Burberry cosmetic bag to go with my new lip-gloss!

Timeless, Elegant and Classic = Burberry

Find a Place for Joy

Native American PaintingHave you ever felt guilty doing something you enjoy? You know the feeling — I’m doing “X” but I should be doing “Y.” I’m working on my quilt but I really should be working on next month’s budget forecast. I’m reading (or writing) another chapter when I really should be studying for next week’s test. I’m going for a bike ride when I really should be cleaning out the garage.

To one degree or another, we all share in a day to day struggle to manage our time (or more accurately, our actions) in terms of “must-dos,” “should-dos,” “want-to-dos,” and “like-to-dos.” Time management gurus tell us that if we are grounded in what we value most, managing time is simply a matter of dividing our activities into categories like urgent, important, trivial and useless.

As many people likely define their highest values in terms of things like family or duty to God or country, these are expressed in terms of a hierarchy of responsibilities. For example, because one places a high value of providing for their family’s physical needs, they spend a great deal of time working in some career or job. While this is all very natural and I won’t suppose to know what you value most, I do believe we are sometimes prone to under-valuing essential parts of our character that contribute much to our humanity—those parts of us that are emotion, creativity and artistic expression.

Our dramatic cover and the accompanying article about Native American artist, John Balloue reminds us that there is so much more to life than our “should dos.” What are the things that enrich our life experience? What contributes significantly to joy and fulfillment for ourselves and others?

My message this month is simple: regardless of what you consider to be most important, forget about feeling guilty. Find a place in your schedule for joy and artistic expression. In your own way you will be contributing to the richness of life’s experience for yourself and for everyone around you.

Market Fresh – Sweet Peas

Fresh Green Peas

I always seem to have a package of frozen peas in my freezer “for an emergency.” And I think the last time I used them was indeed an emergency—when I needed an ice pack to soothe a grandson’s skinned knee.

There’s nothing wrong with eating frozen peas, of course. They are one of those vegetables that freeze pretty well. I just never seem to find an occasion to serve them; preferring, instead, to eat what is fresh and in season. Frozen peas are good for emergencies. Fresh peas are good to eat.

If you question whether there is really that much of a difference in flavor and texture, this is the month to find out once and for all. Spring is bursting through at the farmers’ market, and winter veggies are on the way out. Asparagus, artichokes, peas, fava beans — this kaleidoscope of green is nature’s sneak preview of all the wonderful things ahead.

After stocking up at the farmers’ market on sunny April mornings, I’m often inspired to continue the pace. Blame it on the mounds of fragrant strawberries, the tender little greens, or the riot of spring flowers available, but I want all of that beauty to follow me home.

More often than not I’ll toss my purchases in a cooler in the trunk of my car and spend the rest of the afternoon combing through local (and not-so-local) nurseries, buying up colorful annuals to perk up my patio garden. And getting more pricey landscaping ideas than I’ll ever put to use.

Although I consider this a perfectly legit way to while away the hours, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to make dinner when I get home. In fact, my ideal Saturday family dinner usually involves uncomplicated, comforting foods that are already in my refrigerator or pantry. (Or trunk.) A yummy meal prepared on the fly. Preferably while wearing high heels.

Here’s a speedy one-pot recipe that combines a vegetable and starch in one delish dish. Serve it alongside grilled wild salmon, and dinner is done. For dessert? Sliced farm-fresh strawberries, with or without a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. Spring at its finest. And prepared in a flash.

Fresh Peas with New Potatoes and Mint

  • 8 ounces tiny red or white new potatoes, scrubbed clean*
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas (1 1/2 pounds peas in the pod)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

  1. In a large saucepan, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water over medium-high heat until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the cooking water, but don’t bother to rinse out the pot. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
  2. In the same saucepan, combine the peas, water, about 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the peas are barely tender and turn bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the warm potatoes and the remaining butter. Cook uncovered, shaking the pan gently, until the butter melts and becomes creamy and sauce-like, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Taste, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the mint and serve at once.

Serves 4.

*If you have only larger potatoes on hand, cut them into 1-inch chunks

Pea Primer

  • There are basically two kinds of peas: English peas (aka common garden peas) that must be shelled to eat the “seeds” inside; and snow peas and sugar snap peas, which have edible pods. Sugar snap peas are plump; while snow peas—a favorite in Chinese cuisine—are flat.
  • Although there are “string-less” sugar snap peas on the market now, most other varieties have a tough string running along the length of the pod. To remove it, snap off the leaf end and pull down on the string. (This is a mindless chore best done while watching television, or staring into space. Ditto for shelling fresh English peas.)
  • Like corn, the sugars contained within peas convert to starch shortly after harvesting, so it’s best to buy them fresh at the farmers’ market and eat them as soon as possible.
  • Easy does it! An over-cooked pea is a sorry thing. Strictly speaking, peas do not require cooking—though giving them a quick sauté or blanch in boiling water will intensify their color and mellow their flavor ever so slightly.
  • One of my favorite go-to salad/side dishes comes from Ina Garten, and requires absolutely no cooking: Trim the ends from sugar snap peas, and remove strings if needed. Toss the uncooked sugar snaps with barely enough Asian sesame oil to coat lightly. (Be miserly here. Don’t think of the oil as “salad dressing;” add only enough to make the peas glisten.) Sprinkle with toasted white or black sesame seeds and serve at room temperature. You will be amazed.
  •  Regardless of which variety you buy, always inspect the packaging: look for plump, glossy green pea pods, crisp and free of blemishes.
  • Peas taste best when eaten the same day they were picked. When that is not possible, store them in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Pea Arithmetic: one pound of English peas-in-the-pod yields 1 cup of shelled peas.

 

The Danville Certified Farmers’ Market, located at Railroad and Prospect, is open every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.  For specific crop information call the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association at 1-800-949-FARM or visit their web site at www.pcfma.com.

Trivial Matters

The umpteenth annual Kings X Trivia Tournament will be held at WPLJ in Walnut Creek on Sunday April 29, 2012 at noon. The tournament was first held at the historic Kings X restaurant in Oakland in 1978. The moderator will be a local Trivia superstar, Rich Berkery. Come down and watch, or, if you would like to join a team, contact me through ALIVE.

  1. Who played for the NY Giants in the ’51 World Series, managed the SF Giants in the ’62 World Series and managed the A’s in the ’74 World Series?
  2. Who played Audrey Hepburn’s husband in “Breakfast at Tiffanys”?
  3. Who played a controversial version of the “Star Spangled Banner” in the ’68 World Series?
  4. Who was Bob Dole’s Republican VP running mate in 1996?
  5. What was the name of Peter Gunn’s girl friend, played by Lola Albright, on the old TV show?
  6. Every time he opened the closet door on the old radio show, mountains of junk would pour out. What was the name of the show?

March Answers:

  1. Robert DeNiro
  2. Ralph Houk
  3. Dan Reeves
  4. Lonard Bernstein
  5. Sully Sullenberger
  6. Grand Central Station

WIN LUNCH ON BEN!
The first person to email or mail, no calls please, the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate at The Uptown Cafe in downtown Danville, compliments of Ben Fernandez!
Entries must be received by April 20, 2012. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. Please email your answers to info@aliveeastbay.com, or mail to ALIVE East Bay, 3200 A Danville Blvd., Ste. 204, Alamo, CA 94507. Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE East Bay are not eligible.
Restaurant may be changed without notice.

One Night With The King


In case you think I’m getting prematurely dotty, I willingly admit that I reviewed this One Night With The King in early 2008. A lot has happened since then to make me feel the need to dust it off. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a huge crowd recently at the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) 2012. In his speech he spoke about America’s long standing and amazing relationship with Israel. He also spoke of the real and present danger of a nuclear Iran. Since the timing is almost concurrent with the Hebrew Festival of Purin he spoke of Queen Esther. He even gave President Obama a copy of the Megilah of Esther, a scroll that recounts the heroics of Queen Esther in ancient Persia. If you don’t know who Esther was or about her pivotal role in history, you need to watch this movie. The speech and the gift have a message but I will leave you to decipher that.

You take one young orphan girl and one hunky king and you have the making of a luscious tale. This one is a true tale, chronicled by history. The life of Esther is one of the most inspiring Biblical accounts found in the Old Testament. Much beloved by Jews, Christians and Persians alike, Esther is the story of deliverance for the Jewish people.

One Night With The King
has lavish costumes, giggling harems, a vast ancient city, huge armies, black riders, and blood feuds. Yet, it is truly the story of a young woman, a Jew, living in exile in Susa, Persia with her cousin in about 485 BC.

There is a back-story of a 400 year-old feud between the Jews and the Agagites that intertwines throughout the movie. This is a part of the story I had never heard and helped me have a better understanding of this period in history. This is an intricately woven story with intrigues, treachery and comeuppance a plenty, but you need to pay attention.

Esther, played by newcomer, Tiffany Dupont is fresh and beautiful and offsets King Xerxes (did I mention that he is hunky?) played by Luke Goss. There are stunning performances by screen legends, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif and John Rhys-Davies that rounds out the cast nicely.

Based on the best-selling novel “Hadassah: One Night With The King,” by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen, this dramatic big-screen adaptation chronicles Esther’s (Hadassah) rise from peasant to queen, her courageous role in the redemption of her people from destruction and death, and her winning of the love of the most powerful man in the kingdom—by seeking his heart rather than the riches of his kingdom.

One Night With The King was shot entirely on location in Rajasthan — India’s very own land of the kings. Digital vistas were added to this Indian castle to recreate the ancient capital, Persepolis. One Night with the King exudes exotic splendor. I have yet to figure out what catches the attention of the “Academy” but in my humble opinion this movie should have at least been nominated for an Oscar for costume and set design. The costumes alone are worth your time and money to rent this movie. Hope you have a big screen, this movie is majestic! As always, I welcome your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com

Healing Chronic Pain and RSD/CRPS Naturally

Align Healing Center was established in Danville in 1999 and since first opening my doors I have seen a progressive increase in chronic pain and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), now called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in our community. RSD/CRPS is a chronic, painful, and progressive neurological condition that affects the skin, muscles, joints, and bones. The syndrome usually develops in an injured limb, such as a broken leg, or following surgery. However, many cases of RSD involve only a minor injury, such as a sprain. And in some cases, no precipitating event can be identified.

RSD/CRPS is characterized by various degrees of burning pain, excessive sweating, swelling, and sensitivity to touch. Pain may begin in one area or limb and then spread to other limbs. In some cases, symptoms of RSD/CRPS diminish for a period of time and then reappear with a new injury.

Causes and Risk Factors for RSD/CRPS
An exact understanding of RSD/CRPS is not complete. It appears to involve a complex interaction among the sensory, motor and sympathetic nervous system as well as involvement of the immune system. Currently Western Medicine is not sure what causes RSD/CRPS. It is believed that in most cases the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in sustaining the pain. Another theory is that CRPS is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the characteristic inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area.

Treatment Options for RSD Patients

Medical treatments for the management of RSD/CRPS include analgesics, anti-depressants, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nerve blocks, and multiple other drug therapies.

The Natural Approach for Chronic Pain and RSD/CRPS
Holistic, non-invasive treatments for RSD/CRPS offer new possibilities patients may consider for pain and symptom management. As with traditional treatments, holistic treatments may need to be combined for optimal results. Natural Medicine (vitamins, herbs, natural compounds, etc.) has proven to be effective and long-term in helping calm the sympathetic nervous system and reduce systemic inflammation.

At Align Healing Center we are currently seeing beneficial results in the treatment of chronic pain and RSD/CRPS. The combination of Laser Therapy combined with Natural Medicine is yielding hopeful results.
Laser therapy is the application of low levels of laser light to areas of the body that have been injured or damaged. Contrasted with high-powered lasers used in health care that cut tissue, such as surgical or hair-removal lasers, therapy lasers produce beneficial chemical and biological interactions that can help relieve pain and repair injured/damaged tissue. Just as photosynthesis creates energy for plants, the absorption of the laser light by your cells causes increased production of cellular energy. In areas of injury or damage, this means there is more energy available to improve the rate and quality of healing. Studies on tissue cultures have revealed a wide range of beneficial physiological effects, including increased levels of endorphins, reduced levels of inflammatory compounds and an increased rate and quality of tissue healing. We often have patients notice improvement after the very first treatment session; whereas with chronic pain or RSD/CRPS it is realistic that it may take a few treatments. The effect of laser therapy is cumulative, meaning that each successive treatment builds on previous ones.

The results that we are experiencing with our patients are nothing short of remarkable. Class IV Laser Therapy has exceeded our expectations of the healing potential that it ignites in the body and it is our mission to share it with anyone who is seeking freedom from their pain.

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.

2012 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe – Sport-Tuned Performance!

2012 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe

I remember modifying my 1966 Ford Mustang and rebuilding the engine to produce a screaming 300 horses, slapping on rumbling exhaust and working the suspension. The image I wanted and achieved was lo ud and powerful with the ability to handle tight curves and feel every bump in the road. In the 1980′s that was the general requirement to be classified as a sports car.

Well, the years have passed and so has my desire to be thrashed by unforgiving suspension and deafened by sound polluting mufflers. So what’s out there for us rehabilitated sports car junkies? How about the 2012 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe?

Eager to deepen their gas pedals into the world of the performance game, Infiniti has launched a new line of premium performance vehicles; the Infiniti Performance Line or IPL. Smartly, Infiniti didn’t just focus on extra horsepower and acceleration. They also enhanced the total refined vehicle performance luxury with modifications to the exterior, interior, suspension and engine tuning. The limited production IPL G37 Coupe is the first Infiniti to come from this new line.

From a distance, the profile is quite similar to the current G37 Coupe. A more detailed examination exposes the IPL treatment including new front and rear fascias, sleek side sills and IPL-exclusive 19-inch split-spoke wheels. You have two exterior choices – Graphite Shadow and Malbec Black. The front fascia is aggressive and beautiful. From the rear you cannot help but notice the enormous 120mm dual exhaust tips.

The interior doesn’t vary much from the standard G Coupe. The leather seats are available in either black or red with red accent stitching, and the dash is trimmed in polished aluminum. I would have suggested that they be a little more creative and placed some IPL logos to customize the interior like they did with the exterior. With that said, the IPL edition is fully loaded and very comfortable-at least in the front seat.

As with the standard G Coupe, the rear seat was not truly designed for long trips or tall people or short people for that matter. I had to move the front passenger seat to nearly its most forward position to provide my son who was parked in his child seat, adequate room for his little three-year old legs. Of course, all he cared about was that the IPL looked like a super-fast car.

Standard features include power sliding/tinted glass moon roof, 12-way power/heated driver seat, 8-way power/heated front passenger seat, driver’s seat power lumbar support, dual zone automatic temperature controls, intelligent key with push button start, dual heated power outside mirrors, chrome front grille (black grille optional), aluminum kick plates, hard drive navigation system with XM NavTraffic® and XM NavWeather, rear view monitor and sonar system, Bluetooth® hands-free phone system, USB connection port and Infiniti voice recognition system.

The Infiniti IPL team invested their time and money in the development of the powertrain and chassis. Infiniti dropped the 348-hp version of the 3.7-liter V-6 under the hood. They opened up the exhaust allowing the back pressure to drop by 30 percent. Compared to the standard G37 Coupe, the IPL only has a mild increase of 18 horsepower. Mated to the 3.7-liter is the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed automatic transmission with Drive Sport mode and solid magnesium shift paddles.

The IPL-tuned performance suspension receives 20-percent tighter front springs and 10% tighter rear coils while the brakes and steering components are carryovers. A limited slip differential is standard. The power steering is sport-tuned, and vehicle speed-sensitive. Braking includes 4-piston front and 2-piston rear calipers. All of this translates into a very comfortable and quiet ride. If you have ever driven the G37 sister car – the Nissan 370Z, you know that you feel every bump in the road. The IPL G37 is a huge improvement and delivers a luxurious ride and sporty handling.

Room for improvement:

  • Infiniti could have made the interior more distinctive

Cool Features:

  • Aggressive front fascia
  • Push button start

The standard safety equipment for the 2012 IPL G37 Coupe model includes two-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for front passengers with front and rear side-curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, lower anchors and tethers for Children (LATCH), front-seat active head restraints, 4-wheel anti-lock braking system, vehicle security system and electronic stability system.

In Summary – The 2012 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe is a wonderful blend of performance and luxury in a sports car. It has great lines, a comfortable ride, and extreme performance. It’s not a family car, but a lot of fun when traveling either alone or with that someone special. At a price of

$51, 250 it comes loaded with features.

Specifications

2012 IPL G37 Coupe

Base price: $51,250 as driven: $52,345 (including destination)

Engine: 3.7-Liter 6 cylinder

Horsepower: 348 @ 7400

Torque: 276 foot pounds @ 5200

Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic

Drive: Rear Wheel-Drive

Seating: 5-passenger

Turning circle: 36.1feet

Cargo space: 7.4 cubic feet

Curb weight: 3769 pounds

Fuel capacity: 20 gallons

EPA mileage: City 19 / Highway 27

Wheel Base: 112.2 inches

Warranty: 4 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper

Also consider: Audi TT, BMW 3 Series, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG