Thursday, February 27, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion Happy Hour - February 2014

Miami-ans know how to throw great parties. I can't tell if it's out of necessity, passion, or the side effect to something in our drinking water. "Irregardless", it is one of the reasons I love living here.

This month I am fortunate to co-host an event that is a testament to our local's stellar event planning, Fashion Happy Hour. You have heard me talk about the basics of Fashion Happy Hour before (see, #ThankYouMiami for Fashion Happy Hour - October 2013). In addition to 2x1 drinks, here are some of the surprises you can expect to see this Friday at Red Bar Gallery:
I am so excited to have you join me at this event that I am giving away #ThankYouMiami mug featuring my new logo to one lucky reader! Enter the giveaway by following the instructions below and next week you too could be sharing in a #ThankYouMiami moment like this:

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Distinctively Different Neighborhoods - South Miami

Welcome to Part 4 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.

In this feature, Miami residents and local business owners Maya and Nayla El-Naffy tell us about South Miami, the neighborhood they chose for their specialty fashion shop, Monc Boutique. When Maya and Nayla settled in Miami after traveling around the world, they had a hard time finding a store that offered them affordable and fabulous finds. So they outfitted 7222 Red Road with a modern and cool Miami vibe and opened their own boutique. 

Their selection of trendy, designer pieces draws from the fashion expertise they acquired while traveling, but is perfectly tailored for the Miami style (see, #ThankYouMiami for a Unique and Enviable Style). So next time you feel like indulging in guilt-free spending, don't think twice about stopping by Monc Boutique. And, while you're in the area, check out South Miami's other great assets.

1. What distinguishes South Miami from other Miami neighborhoods?
South Miami is an up-and-coming boutique area filled with restaurants, bars, and amazing shopping. We love grabbing a bite to eat at Whisk and spending happy hour at Town Kitchen and Bar. Chocolate Fashion, which recently opened an outpost on Sunset Drive, is another neighborhood favorite. South Miami is also surrounded by great neighborhoods like Coral Gables and by some of Miami's best schools.

South Miami's reputation as a Miami food destination is quickly growing due to the success of local favorites like Whisk, which offers a modern take on southern comfort food. I highly recommend the Pimiento Cheese and Fried Green Tomato Sandwich - it is extremely decadent, but totally worth every single calorie.

2. What makes South Miami "SO Miami"?
South Miami is a melting pot of stores. The neighborhood has a restaurant for every type of foodie and a boutique to help every Miami girl discover her personal style.

Amongst the great finds housed in South Miami's boutique store fronts, Monc Boutique is a major clothing win. The selection that Maya and Nayla have curated perfectly fits my Miami style, like the must-have white sweater crop top shown above.

3. What do you like least about South Miami?
The parking! It is sometimes hard find street parking, but there are plenty of garages in the area.

South Miami offers it all - a main street and a mall feel, large brands and small businesses, clothing boutiques and restaurants, on street parking and parking garages. How will you customize your South Miami experience?

4. What is the strangest thing you've seen in South Miami?
We were quite surprised to find that all of the businesses in the area support one another. We think this attitude is fantastic for creating a neighborhood that is in sync.

South Miami has a vibrant business community fostered by support from locals and other business owners. The healthy business atmosphere draws more and more new business to the area, including recently inaugurated restaurant Buns & Buns which I am excited to check out soon!

5. What about South Miami makes you say #ThankYouMiami?
South Miami has a great family environment - it is a great place to visit with friends and family to enjoy daytime or nighttime activities. We also love the different events that the City of South Miami organizes like the Parade of the Elves in December and the farmer's market.

For over two decades, the City of South Miami has sponsored the Parade of the Elves in December to signify the start of the holiday shopping season. Events like this annual holiday event make South Miami one of Miami's most family-friendly neighborhoods. Image via SOMI Magazine

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 series.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Great Fashion Finds

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There is no greater feeling than discovering a hidden gem in a neighborhood you know very well. I happened upon such a discovery most recently in Coral Gables, a neighborhood I frequent for work, dining, and shopping. The unexpected treasure? My Best Friend's Closet Boutique.

As both an avid visitor to Coral Gables and a fashion addict, you can imagine my surprise when I was invited last week to celebrate the third anniversary of a Miracle Mile clothing store I had not yet visited. I immediately knew I had to stop by. And, the promise of bubbles, beats, and blow-dry styling were just the excuse that I needed.  

The rave reviews that My Best Friend's Closet Boutique receives on Yelp! truly do them justice. Their inventory includes a drool-worthy variety of clothes, jewelry, accessories, and novelty gifts from my favorite brands. At the end of the evening, I left with a handful of items for myself and a mental catalog of future house-warming and birthday presents for my girlfriends. When their online store is live, my wallet is in deep, deep trouble.

Here are a few highlights from the My Best Friend's Closet Boutique anniversary party and their inventory:

Miami nightclub staple, DJ Ariel Assault, set the perfect atmosphere for a night of cocktails, shopping, and socializing.
The crowd stayed energized for an evening of intensive shopping thanks to these cute cupcakes.
The complimentary dry styles from local personal stylist Nicole Rodriguez of NR Trends were in high demand throughout the event. Because shopping is much more fun when you look fabulous, right?
I joined other Miami fashionistas, their tias and, of course, their cousins in shopping for a good cause. Part of the sales from the anniversary celebration were donated to #theEasterSeals for disability services.
These House of Harlow 1960 sunnies were among my favorite finds at My Best Friend's Closet Boutique. Other available designers that are on my must-have list include BCBG Max Azria, Mara Hoffman, and local fashion guru Noe Cesar (see, #ThankYouMiami for a Unique and Enviable Style).
My Best Friend's Closet offers a wide range of novelty products, including scented options like the Royal Apothic fragrances shown above, which will be among my go-to gift options for future occasions.

How do you express your Miami style? What are the staple pieces in your closet? What are some of your go-to local designers and boutiques? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, February 7, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Fostering Local Creativity - February 2014

Welcome to Part 1 of my series, “#ThankYouMiami for Fostering Local Creativity", where I highlight the programs, places, and people that attract creative talent to our area and that empower our local creatives. Access the rest of the series here: Part 2. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming part of this series, contact me.

Miami inspires and is inspired by great creative minds. Historic figures have responded to international movements by channeling our beautiful city (i.e., Morris Lapidus and MiMo notables like the Eden Roc). Entire Miami neighborhoods have been transformed by art (i.e., Wynwood and the Wynwood Walls). So today we say #ThankYouMiami for fostering local creativity by highlighting, in photos, programs that attract creative talent to our area and that empower our local creatives. Make sure to immerse yourself in these and other great programs from these organizations this weekend! 

The Latest Works of Larry Poons at Biscayne Nature Center
Dates: January 26 through May 3, 2014
Admission: Free, but parking is $6
The Biscayne Nature Center gave abstract painter Larry Poons a very "Miami" welcome with a delicious brunch reception on Sunday, January 26.
Miami locals of all ages were drawn to in-depth discussions of Larry Poons' career at the opening reception for his exhibit at the Biscayne Nature Center's Art Gallery. His art will be on display in Miami until May 2014.
Attendees of the opening reception also had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful outdoor areas of the Biscayne Nature Center, where they reflected on Larry Poons latest works over light bites.
Larry Poons was happy to both listen and share his knowledge with the audience at his exhibit's opening reception. His recent quote in the Miami Herald was a theme throughout most of his discussions: “It doesn’t matter what the story behind the painting is, whether this was painted for a whorehouse or it was painted for the Vatican. A great painting is a great painting.” Read the full article here.

Read more here:

2nd Garden Music Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Ended January 19, 2014
This past January, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden invited Miami to enjoy music under the starry skies at its beautifully lit lawn.
Miami locals of all ages gathered to listen to high-quality music and revel in the uncharacteristically cold weather with their families and friends.
Visiting and local artists treated the crowd to music ranging from classical to bluegrass. My personal favorites were the jazz artists at the closing concert on Sunday, January 19.
The two-week event was the second of its kind at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and, based on the attendance, Miami looks forward to its return next year!

If you've been inspired by these programs or have an idea for an art project, you are in luck. The Knight Arts Challenge (see, #ThankYouMiami for Making Moves) is looking for local arts projects and programs to which they can award matching grants. Applications are being accepted online until February 24, 2014. Submit your application now!

Did you attend any of the above events and have a different perspective? What is your favorite display of local creativity? Do you have a favorite creative program or project that deserves to be highlighted? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!
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