Shanell Verandez: The Creative Director of Drinks

Shanell Verandez at the bar Rittenhouse Grill Philadelphia wearing a KVaughn dress winter collection 2022
Shanell Verandez at the bar, Rittenhouse Grill, Philadelphia wearing  KVaughn, Winter collection 2022.

Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2022


The Creative Director of Drinks


I proclaim myself the “Creative Director of Drinks, because not only do I consider myself as a mixologist, but more of an Artist. As a bartender a.k.a mixologist a.k.a “C.D.O.D”, I am directing people’s vibes with my creative elixirs I refer to as “liquid babies” that will be sure to delight your senses! I am that creative…I have stirring it up behind the bar since 1996. Now back to the present, ‘Tis the season to be Jolly! What a better way to introduce some of my holiday “liquid babies” edition? Here are three of my favs to pop up the holidays! Cheers!
Holidaze Pop
This is a nice, crisp, slightly sweet flavor to soothe the soul.
         Grand Mariner (2ozs.)
         Mango or Pineapple juice (1 oz.)
         Dry Brut Champagne 
          Orange slice
Build Grand Marnier, mango or pineapple juice in a flute glass, then balance champagne. Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!
Black Kiss
This liquid baby is for the baby is for the bold daredevil. These are the people ready to start the new year now! It is a sweet, bold blackberry saturated cocktail with an orange sage bourbon finish.
                      Bourbon (2 ozs.)
                     Cointreau (1/2 oz)
                      Simple syrup (3/4 oz)
                      3 blackberries 
                      1 sage leaf
                      Orange peel
Silk Martini 
             Ciroc Coconut vodka (2ozs)
              Kahlua(3/4 oz)
              Half/ Half cream
             Chocolate syrup 
              Coconut flakes 
In a 16 oz glass mixer, fill with ice, than mix vodka, kahlua, frangelica and cream together, shake and pour into a frosted martini glass garnished with chocolate syrup inside and top with a sprinkle of coconut flakes… Enjoy!
  This liquid baby holds a special place in my heart, I have been shaking this cocktail since 2005, when I entered this one in an bartending competition and won first place. It is a sweet, creamy chocolate, coconut twist paradise that will make you forget that ol’ egg nog! Heck…
All three liquid babies will make you even forget that ol’ mistletoe too! ‘It’s the season from Yours Truly Behind the Bar💋
Shanell Verandez behind the bar at Rittenhouse Grill Philadelphia
Shanell’s wearing KVaughn Winter Collection. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022


To access additional articles by Shanell Verandez, click here

A.H. Scott: Night, Angel

Portrait of young woman with black long hair wearing sheer nightgown
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022


Night, Angel


Call me Serenity

With charm to disarm, here I am for you

None of what we long for comes out of the air so thin

Casting a spell

You know me so well

I move through the night ever so sprite

Now, here I am with you

Something it was, something it is

Back when our eyes met for the first time, there was a delicious reason and parallel rhyme

Yeah, it’s the way she moves

Slick glide of mercury across the floor she is

Knock at her pad came after dark

Under his arm was a white box with a bow

Oh, I’m a curious woman who wants to know

What could it be that he brought for me?

A few suppers here and there is beyond a simple blind date that is ever so rare

Getting to know one another has amplified my horizons in such varied ways

Oh, a tender gentleman puts me in a haze

But, I’m not silly to think that it’s only my visual that puts a guy like him on the brink

I’ve got that magic inside of me that illuminates in special ways

Soft melody plays

Not a cover-up is this gift, as my body slowly shifts within it

Delicate lace bow I release in a sensual tease with thumb and index finger is a breeze

His hands cradle gossamer the color of night upon my flesh, as I offer a humble sigh

My bedroom is my sanctuary and we are here together

Fragrant aroma of cherry blossom fills the air

As you hold me in those strong arms that are so dear, I nibble and whisper gently in your ear

You know me

Yes, I know her

She is tranquility that I never thought I would find

I am the man who she treats ever so kind

Tender words from those lips and actions that are mutual fascination is the magic we share

Gossamer vanishes to the floor

I want her more and more

Hardening as I do, it is when I’m with her that there is that lustful follow through

Soft hands of mine touch along his expanded crotch

Oh God, I want him inside of me so much

I guess I am a woman of a blissful spell, cuz’ I can get such a sexy man to swell

Not tooting my own horn, but there’s going to be more than one grind between us from after midnight to the coming dawn

Hands make their moves with rapid speed

This night is going well, indeed

Blush upon my lips is like a siren song

I picked up on her signs, as on the bed we climbed

She below me and my flesh entering slowly at first

Deeper and deeper we are making our connection with such untamed thirst

Sensuality’s spring is about to burst

Back and forth, I take that ride upon him

Feelin’ good, feelin’ groovy

Damn, this man is really knowin’ me now

Her body flourishes with every point of contact we make, as I am about to make a fast break

We hold onto each other, as what comes about comes

Both of us are heady in our passion as the room seems to spin around our bodies in a mystical way

As if we are imbued with the essence of falling leaves, we listlessly lay upon the bed

Strands of my raven hair are slightly entangled through my fingers as I touch his chest and rest my head against it

I hear his heart beating like a snare drum

Wow, what a torrid duo we’ve become

Silently I wonder if he thinks I was just a bit too wild

Midnight holds magic in ways neither needed to voice

Being with her was a delightfully humbling choice

I lifted my head from off his chest, kissed him and was lost in a sweet caress

As I look at your softness, your feathers are invisible to most who gaze at the woman before my eyes

Yet, I see them as I look at you….

She tenderly smiles, “I know this is true”

He whispered, “Night, angel….”


About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and senior contributor to Tony Ward’s blog.  For additional articles by A.H. Scott, click here:

Kitchie Ohh: Beautifully Broken

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2022


Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022


Creative Director: KVaughn


Hair & Makeup: Michael Connor


Photography Assistant: Anthony Colagreco




Things happen all the time, life would sure be boring if that wasn’t the case. And because life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and is often completely unfair, sometimes those things that happen are awful. We get knocked down, made to feel worthless, hopeless. Beaten down by situations, other people’s cruelty, our own self-doubt and criticism. Cracked. Broken, irreparably shattered.

If you have never seen a piece of Japanese kintsugi pottery,  I urge you to stop reading and Google it; I’ll wait. Now that you’ve seen it, you’re probably wondering why I asked. Well, I find it beautiful, both as visual art and as a concept. The first time I ever saw it, I was awestruck.

The art of kintsugi takes bowls or other fine pottery pieces whose beauty was marred by chips, cracks, and breaks and uses precious metals to make them whole again. They become more valuable, more unique, in the mending than they were originally. Not viewed as less for the imperfection of being broken; but more because someone carefully and skillfully took the time to fix each and every crack. 

I can’t help but draw the parallel between this art form, myself, and the literally millions of other people who have faced down challenges and made it through, alive but not unscathed. We may not be alone in our experiences, but each of us is unique. The physical, mental and emotional pains we endure, as well as the scars those pains leave behind are ours. No two are exactly alike.  

What if we stopped hiding our scars and started to view them as what make us more? Not for simply having received them, but for the precious time, energy and effort we put into our healing. That is the art form. That is the gold, the silver, the platinum that brings all the shattered pieces back together and binds them together stronger than before. While the body may heal itself physically when injured without any conscious effort on our part, true healing and recovery is a choice. It is a process; an ongoing one. We have to care enough about ourselves to see and address all of our breaks, the old and the new. 

We have to let go of the old unbroken versions of ourselves and those who caused the damage. It is possible to forgive, but not forget. To move on, but remember. To be broken but not worthless. We are kintsugi; beautifully broken, remade stronger, perfect in our imperfection.  



Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then shes worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles.  She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn. 

In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.  

Youre just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is be both.” The model and the homemaker,  sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.  

Shanell Verandez: The SexiBeast


Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2022
Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022
Creative Director: KVaughn
Assistant to photographer: Anthony Colagreco
The SexiBeast
I hope I don’t offend, but I have a high disdain for sex…. I am an Asexual Being. At times this has caused a lot of misunderstandings and hurt feelings towards others including myself. One would wonder… What does this stem from? What has now caused me to embrace a life of Asexuality? Shall we begin? I was a very horny little girl, I was fascinated with my tiny breasts and would always pose nude in mirrors any chance I got and used to hump my stuffed teddy bears, and pillowcase edges. 
Sometimes at night my parents would come home and find me naked in their bed with a smile on my face. I would even flirt around with my Uncles ( one paternal, one maternal) they were only two years older than me as well as some of my female friends (remember I am fascinated with breasts) and I had some very developed female friends.  I was trying just about anything to relieve my sexual tension as a young girl. Then I became menstrual at 11 and my Mother (whom to this day I still have an intense strained toxic relationship with) went bonkers. I thought I was dying because of her reaction to my panties. She didn’t explain to me what was happening to my body, I had to get the lesson from my Aunt.
Throughout my teens, I started to feel ashamed and shy about sex, because my Mom would constantly accuse me of having sex and even would “check” my panties after a slumber party or events to smell or see if I had sex. Then I discovered sex games, spin the bottle, etc and almost lost my virginity to a cute mixed neighborhood boy in his backyard, but he couldn’t find my opening.
My Mom at one point even let me take a boyfriend but I refused to have sex with him because I now wanted to be the good girl who wasn’t a pregnant statistic in the neighborhood, so I focused more heavily on school, sports and music. I had no more time for human interaction, nor intimacy. I kept my virginity until I was 20 years old and lost it to a narcissist, abusive mixed East Indian man boy. I will finish that relationship right there, he doesn’t deserve anymore space. After that sexual experience, I started to attract the same shitty men with the same intentions in mind… Hit it then Leave.
I started to realize that sex to me is meaningless and serves no purpose in my life. At the same time,  I admire people who embrace their sensuality and are sexually free. Believe me, I have had my share of sexual encounters from being a Dom at the Hellfire club , Voyuerism, Ménage a Trois and Tantra.  Maybe I was exposed to the wrong people at those times but it made me realize what type of pleasure I want and don’t want. As an Asexual Being, people wonder… How do I please myself? Toys Toys Toys they are a Godsend. Maybe one day my sexual drive will come back on high gear and I will be back on the intimacy  trail with some lucky guy…
             Stay Tuned…..
Editor’s Note: This is Shanell Verandez first sitting with Tony Ward for the Vixen’s series. To see all of the work to date from the new series, click here

A.H. Scott: Wavelength

photo of sexy young black woman wearing bikini in a suburban back yard
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Poetry by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2022




Blue sky above, wicker basket, plastic cooler, boom-box, and a breeze ever so light
Nice day for a backyard picnic as this day winds down to night
Tablecloth of checkered green and white with napkins of the same design laid out on the grass by the patio deck
I grab the sunscreen and toss it over to you, “Will you do me, babe?”
Without missing my vibe, you flipped the top and squirted that sunscreen on your hands and then all over me
I took the sunscreen from your hands and did you the same
First, some nibbling on lobster rolls and fresh fruit to keep up our energy in this heat
Inside that filled ice cooler on a resin table on the deck are a few bottles of water, beer and a can of soda or two
Fanta was mine, as Corona was yours
We relaxed on the grass for a brief spell of time, just taking in the rays
I finished my soda and kissed you on the cheek, then I reached into the basket and took out a Luigi cherry ice
”Reminds me of old times, seeing you with that cherry ice”, you smiled
Small wooden spoon scooped out a tiny portion and I placed it in my mouth, “Sweet as ever is what I’m talking about”.
As soon as it hit my tongue, I swallowed and our eyes met
Cherry ice was finished by us both
Surface of present had been breached
You stood up and I followed your lead, as neither of us said a peep
Your lips against mine and mine against yours
Tasting that cherry flavor that lingers on our tongues
Kisses along your neck
Those hands of yours taking that journey over inches of my body
Oh, so this is how it’s gonna’ be
Oh yeah, honey, you know just how to get to me
Squeeze of breasts beneath blue fabric held by each of your palms
So damn hot this summer is turning out to be
I run the tip of my tongue slowly across your left nipple and my fingernails down your chest
You respond with a quick pat on my ass and I know I’m in for a blast
Deck partially shaded by an apple tree
Our picnic is really heating up
Butterflies flittering above our heads
We laugh and kiss once more
We both are excited for that first impression of intimacy
Not just of you partaking of my flesh
Not just of me making you rise
My core of desire combined with yours to boot
Your words never shallow
The sound of your voice like a soothing balm
I’m so excited to be with you, but I better keep calm
Absorbing one another
With you, emancipated from coy restraint is effortless
I gently bite my bottom lip and sigh, “Baby, don’t stop”.
Baby blue string bikini on bottom and top
Your right pinky finger at my hip makes it depart
Hooked fabric around that digit motions like a downward sail onto that patio deck
I kick off my sandals and they slide towards the porch swing
You take me by the hand and we embrace
Single ice cube taken from that cooler into your right hand
I sit down onto the swing and bless the heavens that you are my man
Cube drifts downward slowly between my thighs and I open them wider to get that most delicious surprise
Diamond of mine greets that melting ice, as I exhale with wanted relief
You lick your lips and watch with delight
I laughed, “Your idea for this picnic was right on target”.
Slyly replying, “Yeah, sweet lady, it definitely hit the spot”.
I sigh as cube goes bye-bye
Wet, I am and not just because of that ice
You always know how to go deep and make me feel so nice
That place you touch so deep inside of me without insistence
You know how to get to me with affection’s persistence
Copasetic is how we roll
It’s that depth of connection which tantalizes our core
Signals are never mixed when we know what we want
Mutual pleasure is that ultimate treasure
You are a man of distinction and matured might
Darling man, you have more than enough steam pumping from your engine
All pistons firing, as our muscles entangle in this sultry sunset
Droplets of sweat
Baby, how good could it get?
Better by the moments we share
Those hands of yours on my torso, as my fingers tap along your strong shoulders
You released my torso and stretched your fingers over to the boom-box and pressed play
As those sprockets began to revolve, I slowly undulated on top of you
You always know how to thrill me and could tell what I was in the mood for
Wise man you are
The way that you stare makes it oh so clear
Dark brown curls fan out around my shoulders as I kiss you once, twice, thrice and more
You are a man that I love to explore
Neo-soul’s left me cold
I’m thinking something to take a deeper toll
I can see that you’re cravin’ it, too
Yet, what I need right now is that full bodied musical brew
Al Green’s dulcet hum or strain of guitar string is what I’m talking about
Speaking of strings, come on baby unknot the one on my baby blue bikini top
I’m going back into that groove of when music was music
Let’s play, let’s stay, let’s make this fervency of fascination never drift away
Masterpiece is what I seek
And, here we are on the same wavelength of wonder
Not distilled in a book of distant thoughts of days gone by
Yet, a reemerged ecstasy of maturity that could make some whippersnapper’s cry
There is this thing, between you and me, honey
It is that thing which no one else can see
A sound? A scent? A flavor of yesteryear? Something we both reap?
Maybe even silly jokes we keep
Yes, that is the thing which is ever so deep
Smokin’ brass intro of Green’s riff on the Tempting Temps brings me to a heightened state
We both remember where we were the first time we heard it and both start to contemplate
Was it that night in Frisco?
Or, at that Miami disco?
Really doesn’t matter, as we are together right now
I start to muss up your slicked back hair
You start to brush those skillful hands against my hips
My hands pull your shorts off and reveal your excitement
Your pride feels nice to the touch, as I want you inside of me oh so much
Without haste, you oblige my request, as we enjoy the splendor of one another on that oversized porch swing
Slowly it moved back and forth, as our bodies made contact again and again
Sun’s going down and I want to do the same to you
I moved from beneath you and took your note in right hand, as my lips met the moment that was ever so grand
You are the gent with such charm, as your note was rising, you decided to play my chord a bit
I sat onto that swing and just rocked to the rhythm of your mouth taking that journey of pleasure below
Oh, I hit a few high notes of my own, as our quest for satisfaction was like a rocket blasting off
We changed places and I was on top, as your sturdy frame kept that swing on a riveting pace
As I glided with your body, I was enraptured in a daydream
Sounds of birds returning to their nests for an evening’s rest were heard as I gazed downward into your eyes
Then nature took its’ course and I motioned in a heavenly crumple alongside you onto that swing without remorse
I don’t know what came over me, but thank God you just did
Silky and slick, you are my bold volcano that always outdoes yourself
The words you whisper as I rest head upon your chest, “Nice to know that we are always on the same wavelength”
I take a quick breath and reply, “Our melody of joy is consistently set”
About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and senior contributor to Tony Ward’s blog.