Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion Happy Hour - October 2013

I have a love/hate relationship with Miami and one reason is the absurd amount of events going on at one time. There is almost TOO much to do in Miami. And, as locals, we are stuck with the burden of choosing between going to that music festival, pool party, business opening, or art event. Let's face it - they all sound really fun, but we can't do them all.

Luckily, some events make the decision-making process easy. Enter, Fashion Happy Hour, a monthly event hosted at different Miami venues that is free and open to the public. Fashion Happy Hour merges all of the elements of your usual happy hour experience (e.g., music, 2x1 drinks, delicious food, and new friends) with art, fashion, and shopping. Best of all, most of the participating vendors are Miami-based or Miami-originated businesses (and #ThankYouMiami for that).

Last month, I grabbed my best friend and checked out the September Fashion Happy Hour at RedBar Gallery in Brickell. Needless to say, I had a cocktail in hand, two shopping bags, and a handful of new friends within 5 minutes of arriving. The highlight of the night was enjoying shopping, cocktails, and the awesome vibe with Miami chicas like Maya from A La Mode Maya, Mariamely from Local Genie Miami, and Yoana from Think Red, Inc.

This Friday, Fashion Happy Hour will be hosting its monthly event again at RedBar Gallery, but with a Halloween twist. I can't wait to get into the Halloween spirit with festive body painting by Miami local Vee Marie of iBrushYou and a manicure from Miami nail salon, Candy Coat Nail Boutique. I'm also excited to check out this month's vendors and to meet more fascinating locals so see you there, Miami!

Check out some of my favorite moments from the September event below:

A social butterfly's dream. Fashion Happy Hour combines shopping, fashion, art, and your typical Friday evening socializing into one convenient monthly event so you don't have to make any social trade-offs.

Unique fashion finds. One of the vendors, Pretty Odd Boutique, had me hooked as soon as I walked in. Check out Thank You, Miami's Instagram for a sneak peek of the gorgeous dress I picked up at the event.

Late night munchies. RedBar Gallery is outfitted with a little cafeteria window that offers latin bar food specials like these ground beef tacos.

I owe how much? RedBar's Happy Hour prices were more than reasonable. So much so, that I took a photo of my receipt at the end of the night.

Have you attended a previous Fashion Happy Hour? What were some of your favorite moments? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami! Also, let me know if you are coming on Friday. I would love to meet you!

Monday, October 7, 2013

#ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods - SoFi

Welcome to Part 1 of our series, “#ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods", where Miami locals take us on a journey of their respective neighborhoods and tell us what they love about it, what they hate about it, and why their neighborhood makes them say #ThankYouMiami. Access the rest of the series here.

Our Miami is different than your Miami and it is this diversity that makes Miami unique. But, as Miami Beach residents, we rarely leave the beach, making it difficult for #ThankYouMiami to fully explore Miami's diversity.

That is why we will be taking you on a journey into the greater, collective concept that we call "Miami" through our new neighborhood feature: #ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods. Each month we will be calling on you, our fellow Miamians, to help us explore your neighborhood through the lens of #ThankYouMiami by telling us what you love about it, what you hate about it, and why your neighborhood makes you say #ThankYouMiami. For the first segment of this new feature, our founder Margarita Wells starts by taking us inside her 'hood: South of Fifth A/K/A SoFi.

1. What distinguishes SoFi from other Miami neighborhoods?
SoFi is distinctively different because it provides a stark contrast to the heart of South Beach even though they are within close proximity. Whether its the allure of its historic landmarks or the promise of endless partying at The Clevelander, the majority of Miami Beach's visitors tend to venture north of Fifth Street. Ergo, SoFi is primarily a quiet and less crowded oasis with all the benefits of South Beach living.

An oasis in South Beach. The South of Fifth or SoFi neighborhood offers a retreat that is quieter and less crowded than the areas north of Fifth Street.

2. What makes SoFi "SO Miami"?
Nothing screams Miami like a bodega that sells cheap beer, Cuban food, and cortaditos, particularly when it is around the corner from million dollar condos. In SoFi, our local bodega is La Playa Market and, truth be told, SoFi would not be as Miami without it.

A local staple. La Playa Market, located at 247 Collins Avenue, is the bodega of choice for South of Fifth residents. Best of all? They deliver throughout South Beach!

3. What do you like least about SoFi?
My least favorite aspect of SoFi is that it has been under construction since I moved here. While I understand construction is necessary for progress, I could use a break from the early morning drilling.

Constant construction. Bob's Barricades have become that guest that has overstayed its welcome in SoFi.

4. What is the strangest thing you've seen in SoFi?
I think I have lost sensitivity to strangeness because I cannot recall one single instance that really stuck with me. Among the stranger SoFi sightings are our resident tranny (the one with the U tramp stamp) booty dancing on Anthony Bourdain's The Layover, a rainbow that appeared to make landfall at 3rd Street beach, and the random fireworks that will go off every once in a while.

Small SoFi oddities. Contrary to popular belief, the pot of gold is South of Fifth.

5. What about SoFi makes you say #ThankYouMiami?
#ThankYouMiami that SoFi is growing quickly and beautifully. We had a lot of new businesses open their doors in the past year, including favorites like The Local House, Bar Crudo, The Flat, Tongue & Cheek, and Lee and Marie's Cakery. We also have many new businesses moving in. I am most excited for the opening of Miami Beach's first smoke-free bar, Public House. The variety of local businesses, both new and old, make SoFi a distinctively different Miami neighborhood - one which I look forward to watching grow for years to come.

Miami Beach from a SoFi perspective. Tourist traffic tends to stay north of Fifth Street, so SoFi is a neighborhood that caters primarily to its residents.

Are you an expert on your neighborhood? Share with Miami what makes your neighborhood distinctively different! Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami. You could be featured in an upcoming segment of this feature.
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