Sunday, March 30, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Fostering Local Creativity - O, Miami Poetry Festival

Welcome to Part 2 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 1. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming part of this series, contact me.

Constant vigilance, Miami - poetry has infiltrated our neighborhoods and it is looking for you! For the third year in a row, the O, Miami Poetry Festival arrives in all its creative glory to share the gift of poetry with Miami-Dade County's 2.6+ million residents. Keep an eye on your lottery tickets and an ear tuned to your radios because every medium is fair game for poetry during the month of April.

The O, Miami itinerary also includes a number of events ranging from workshops, readings, and exhibitions to pool parties, yoga classes, and a literary pub crawl through South Beach. Below are 5 events I am most looking forward to attending. For the full calendar of events, please visit the O, Miami Poetry Festival website.

Credit: O, Miami Poetry Festival

Date: Saturday, April 5
Time: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Poetry reading begins at 8 p.m.
Location: New World Symphony Soundscape (500 17 Street, Miami Beach)

The evening will begin with the melodic sounds of Somewhat Hungover, Oscar Fuentes, and New Work Symphony Fellows. Then, at 8 p.m., former U.S. Poets Laureate Robert Hass and 2011 National Book Award-winner Nikky Finney will treat the audience to a reading of their works that will be live-projected on the wall of the New World Symphony building. Like with all wallcasts at Soundscape Park, arrive early to claim a good spot and bring a blanket or chair. Food will be available for sale from Lalatina, My Ceviche, Feverish Pops, and The House of V or you can bring your own.

Date: Saturday, April 12
Time: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Open mic begins at 5 p.m.
Location: R.Y.P.E. Buena Vista Community Garden (136 NE 46 Street, Miami)

Join the Reclaim Your Power Equality (R.Y.P.E.) Community Garden in Buena Vista as they explore the theme of nature in poetry and create poetry trees using poetry and art using recyclable materials. At 5 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to share poems on nature, sustainability, and empowerment during the open mic session.

Date: Saturday, April 19
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Paraiso Bay Sales Center (NE 31 Street and Biscayne Bay, Miami)

Poetry magazine editor Don Share improves upon an iconic Miami moment, Biscayne Bay at sunset, with a reading of his work and of his award-winning translation of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez's work. Participants will be able to enjoy food, cocktails, incomparable views, and music by Tiger's Milk.

Date: Friday, April 25
Time: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: The Betsy Hotel B Bar (1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach)

Miami does pub crawls well so it was only a matter of time until this famous San Francisco-born literature and pub crawl series made it to our sunny shores. The night will begin with readings from novelist Russell Banks and poet Chase Twichell at The Betsy Hotel's elegant premises, after which, armed with a map and a schedule, you will be set loose in South Beach to create your own literary adventure. Godspeed.

Date: Wednesday, April 30
Time: 9 p.m. to Close
Location: Gramps Bar (176 NW 24 Street, Miami)

The month-long itinerary comes to a close at Wynwood staple, Gramps Bar. Celebrate another successful year of the festival's role in fostering local creativity and participate in the first-ever O, Miami Dirty Limerick Competition for your chance at "literary fame and crappy prizes".

Which O, Miami Poetry Festival events are you most looking forward to? What were your favorite events in previous years? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Themed Weeks - Miami Music Week 2014

Miami loves celebrating. Our parties are themed, our weeks are themed, even our months are themed. And in the bevy of year-round celebrations, none is more anticipated internationally than Miami Music Week. Every March, thousands upon thousands of electronic music aficionados descend upon our beautiful city to witness world-class DJs make music history in our venues and to party like nobody's watching.

Then how is Miami Music Week different than every other Miami weekend? In South Beach, the Miami Beach Convention Center hosts Winter Music Conference (WMC) which, in addition to throwing amazing parties throughout the city, offers seminars, technical workshops, and networking opportunities for music industry professionals. In Downtown, the heart of our city is transformed for a weekend into a grid-locked mess to deliver a one-of-a-kind electronic music experience known worldwide as Ultra Music Festival or Ultra.

If you like Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and you haven't been to WMC or Ultra, your opportunity is here! WMC starts today and runs through Sunday, March 30. Ultra will take place from Friday, March 28 through Sunday, March 30.

Here are the events that I am most excited for this Miami Music Week:
Date: Saturday, March 22
Time: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
RSVP: Not required, free admission

Kill Your Idol is one of my favorite places to visit on the rare nights I go all out (i.e., my wedding weekend). So, I am psyched that this party is during the early days of WMC when I won't be as sleep deficient. RaMBunktious Records artists Jay-j, DJ Mark Brickman, Dan.k, Frankie Shakes, and Alan Epps will set the stage for Miami Music Week with classic house from the 80's, 90's, and 2000's. After all, you can't appreciate the new, new until you immerse yourself in its roots.

RAZON Eyewear Launch Party
Date: Wednesday, March 26
RSVP: By Invitation Only

On Wednesday, March 26, Miami-based luxury lifestyle brand, RAZON, will unveil their signature collection of wooden sunglasses at a private party. The line's launch could not be more perfectly timed - not only is WMC Co-Founder Bill Kelly a local brand ambassador, but also sunnies are a must-have accessory during Miami Music Week. Make sure to stop by next week to shop RAZON's sleek aviators in Bamboo, Ebony, and Rosewood and to read more about their "Eye for an Eye" philosophy.

Wakeup Star, S. Renee & All Like Minds Present #MiamiGotNext: Sound Check at Scratch DJ Academy
Date: Thursday, March 27
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
RSVP:, free admission

The first event of the two-night #MiamiGotNext Artists Showcase offers an entrepreneurial forum for artists, producers, brands, and others interested in the music business. Arrive at 7 p.m. for your chance to check out Scratch DJ Academy's digs during the open house and stay from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. to learn from a highly-qualified panel of local music industry professionals: DJ Bre, Honey's Money, Jedi Nemesis, Vince Valholla, and Lee Castro.

Wakeup Star, S. Renee & All Like Minds Present #MiamiGotNext - Underground Report II at Majestical Lips
Date: Friday, March 28
Time: 8 p.m. to Close
RSVP: $10 tickets at door, $7 tickets available for 24 hours here.

The second night of WMC's #MiamiGotNext Artists Showcase brings us an extra dose of local love. South Floridian STEFisDOPE hosts this event that celebrates and highlights Miami's rising MCs featuring the killer sounds of Miami locals like The Pyrvmids, J. Nics and Flight School Preps. If you haven't had the chance to stop by Majestical Lips, then this indie hip hop showcase is the perfect excuse to stop by!

Essential South Beach at the Eden Roc
Date: Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29
Time: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
RSVP: General Admission tickets are on pre-sale for $20 - $30 here and VIP tables can be reserved by e-mailing info [at] rambunktious [dot] com

RaMBunktious Records brings Miami Music Week full circle with more of the basics. For two days, iconic Miami Beach hotel, the Eden Roc, will be graced by the legendary sounds of Miguel Migs, Danny Krivit, Andy Caldwell and a long list of other incredible talent. I can't decide if I am more excited to dance, to witness the stacked line-up firsthand or to lounge poolside at the Eden Roc Miami-style.

Skinny Kings / Slap & Tickle / Freehand Miami present Don't Worry Baby
Date: Sunday, March 30
Time: 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
RSVP: Required, info [at] skinnykings [dot] com

One of Miami's most beautiful venues (see, #ThankYouMiami for Photogenic Venues - Miami Beach) is at it again. On Sunday, March 30, local fashion guru Amanda Del Duca will be hosting another much-anticipated party at the Broken Shaker featuring Anna Lunoe and special guest Pirate Stereo. The event will also feature pop up shops of Miami-based businesses, including Amanda's new online retail store Slasher Girl and lifestyle boutique ISHINE 365. I am in it for the music, but also the shopping, the cocktails, the venue, and the vibe.

Which Miami Music Week events are you most looking forward to? Will you be attending any of these parties? If Miami Music Week is not for you, what do you plan to do instead? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Photogenic Venues - Miami Beach

Welcome to Part 1 of my series, “#ThankYouMiami for Photogenic Venues", where I feature some of Miami's most photogenic venues by neighborhood and I recommend equally photogenic outfits that are appropriate for each. If you think your venue is photogenic and you would like it to be featured in an upcoming part of this series, contact me.

Miami is not defined by its beauty, but beauty is definitely something Miami does well. Our people are beautiful, our food is beautiful, and our scenery is beautiful. If you disagree, I encourage you to visit the #ThankYouMiami Instagram Page for Exhibits A through Z.

Since I moved to Miami, I have been fortunate to visit some of our city's most photogenic venues. Here are some of my favorites in Miami Beach with recommendations for equally photogenic Miami-style attire:
South Pointe Park 
South Pointe Park is located on the southernmost point of Miami Beach in the South of Fifth (SoFi) neighborhood. It boasts views of the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Government Cut and Fisher Island to the South, and the Downtown Miami skyline to the west. The park is popular for exercising, strolling, lounging, and enjoying food and cocktails with a view.

You should be clear about which of these activities you plan to cover during your visit so you can select an appropriate outfit. For the majority who are looking to stroll and people watch, a comfortable but put-together look like the one I choose below is best.

The silk, printed jumpsuit from VAVA Showroom is comfortable for lounging on the grass, but elegant enough to fit into the more upscale feel of SoFi. The American Eagle jean jacket (similar here) and the LC by Lauren Conrad chunky heels (similar here) make the outfit casual enough for the day, but could carry me to dinner in case we decided stay for dinner at nearby Smith and Wollensky.

The Beaches in SoFi
Speaking of SoFi, this Miami Beach neighborhood also features some of the most photogenic sections of beach in Miami. Because what is more photogenic than a beach that is not crowded and is free of rowdy teenagers and Spring Break-ers?

The sunsets are killer, as are the bodies of fellow beach-goers in this area. The beaches here are perfect for surfing, beach sports (think Pro Kadima), swimming, tanning, and even free diving about 150 yards offshore at the Jose Cuervo reef.

Anything goes with bathing suits in Miami Beach. Your final choice is dependent on your anticipated activity level and your personal comfort level. But in Miami, swimwear fashion is "a thing", so feel free to express yourself. I have provided some basic guidelines below.

I generally prefer a standard-cut bikini like this nautical bandeau option from Victoria's Secret (similar here) because it provides me flexibility for any activity. I choose bikinis in bright colors or white because they are quintessential to the Miami style (see, #ThankYouMiami for a Unique and Enviable Style). Matching accessories are also a Miami must! Here I am wearing one of Taradise Miami's "mati" evil eye bracelet (similar here) and Frends Taylor headphones in rose gold (get them here).
Freehand Miami is a go-to for Miami's coolest and most fashionable locals and visitors. They are drawn by the flurry of activities that are hosted by the Freehand around Miami Beach, in their hostel, and in the gorgeous outdoor venue behind their hostel, the Broken Shaker. The exquisite food and the hand-crafted cocktails are all the more enjoyable because the d├ęcor, the pool, and the ping pong tables make you feel like you're in the backyard of a friend's house.

When you visit, dress casually cool (with emphasis on the cool if you're visiting during the hot Miami day). Your outfit should stand out, but not look like you tried on fifty other options before leaving your house. Below are three outfit examples showing my style and those of two friends during last year's Swim Week.

I am in the middle and am wearing a Maaji Swimwear top from Orchid Boutique as a crop top (similar here) paired with a white maxi skirt from Tobi (similar here) and a jean jacket vest from Forever 21 (similar here). In retrospect, the jean jacket was too hot for relaxing outdoors during summer in Miami.
Have you visited any of these venues? What do you think are some of Miami's most photogenic venues? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#ThankYouMiami for Supporting Local Talent - Fashion Happy Hour Recap

Talent instinctively flocks to Miami like the salmon of Capistrano and, with so much talent at our disposal, it is sometimes easy to take it for granted. Last week's Fashion Happy Hour event, however, proved that Miami recognizes and knows how to properly celebrate its local talent.

Fashion Happy Hour as a concept is founded on the principle of "local love" because it gives local fashion industry entrepreneurs a vehicle for showcasing their businesses and directly connecting with their audience. In practice, the event also fosters support of our community by encouraging Miami-ans to shop local and network with each other.

As a supporter of all things "local love", I was humbled by the experience of hosting last month's event. Thank you to all of you who attended or expressed your support in your own way. Your enthusiasm for the event and my involvement is one of the reasons Miami is such a fantastic place to live. So, today, I say #ThankYouMiami for you.

For those of you who were unable to attend and for those who want to relive the good times, below are some of my highlights from February's Fashion Happy Hour event. A special shout out to DJ Juan Luv who was the lucky winner of my #ThankYouMiami mug giveaway. For those of you who expressed interest in purchasing a mug, send me an email at They will also be available for purchase soon under the Shop #ThankYouMiami tab above.

The Blogger's Block, from local special event planning, promotions, marketing, and nightlife company Access & Effect Group, hosted the social media bar and kept all those who could not be in attendance informed with live updates throughout the night.
My outfit for the event was all about mixing lace and leather to create a casual, but sexy look. I'm wearing a BCBG Max Azria Leather jacket (similar here), the Radiant Spark White Lace Dress c/o Alma Mei (get it here), and white Converse sneakers (similar here).
Among this month's vendors was Fashssories. The intricate detailing in their wide selection of accessories, including jewelry, handbags, and wallets, is perfect for the fashionista that is looking to make a bold statement. The clutch shown above was a personal favorite.
Also present was the mother-daughter superstar team of MariMaria Accessories and Avril Accesorios. Daughters Mari and Maria create youthful fashion jewelry using colorful and innovative materials, while mother Arliss creates more classic jewelry with metals like this stunning shark tooth necklace in Italian bronze. You will see examples of both distinctive designs worn by the Damaris Aguiar Modeling Academy (D.A.M.A School) models in later photos.
Me and my wallet are both surprised that we didn't buy out Miami artist Pamela Gallegos' entire Pom Graphic Design and Fine Art pop-up shop. She had her vibrant artwork for sale on everything from throw pillows to framed prints. I was already a fan of her work through her collaborations with Vividly and Wysiwatch, but I walked out an even bigger fan. I mean, come on, check out that killer elephant throw pillow!
Stay tuned for the video soon to come featuring interviews with the vendors, as well as some of the attendees. Here, Marta from Just Be Cosmetics, Inc. explains how she is helping to change the way women see themselves. Also shown are products from her all-natural talc, alcohol, and paraben-free cosmetics and soaps line.
The event was a great excuse to reunite old and new friends, because who doesn't like live music, shopping, 2x1 drinks, and socializing after a long week?
Thank you D.A.M.A School for letting me style the gorgeous Yvannie Soto for the night! I had a lot of fun picking out clothes for her from Norka's fantastic selection.
My favorite moment of the night was when I thought I would get stage-fright and proceeded to write some "cheat notes" on my wrist. I didn't use them, but it made for an entertaining five minutes.
True to my beloved "Miami chic" style, the look I chose for D.A.M.A School doll Yvannie Soto features white classics with pops of color (see, #ThankYouMiami for a Unique and Enviable Style). The Avril Accesorios shark tooth statement necklace in Italian bronze completed this look by channeling both Miami's glamour and marine ties. Yvannie is wearing a white racerback tank and electric blue pleated skirt from Norka Boutique (get the top here and the skirt here) and the Lady Bag in White from Ashlie Redmond (get it here).
When I addressed the crowd, not only did I get to highlight and explain the pieces I selected for Yvannie's outfit, but I also had the opportunity to share the #ThankYouMiami story (see, Why #ThankYouMiami?).
Because you cannot put a price on safety, Yvannie's accessories extended beyond jewelry. Here she shows the crowd how to operate R&D Self Defense's lipstick stun gun which she had hidden inside her Ashlie Redmond handbag.
A huge thanks to Valentina, my co-host Tala Delgado from Pineapple Me, our beautiful models from D.A.M.A School: Yvannie Soto and Nathalie Quinones, and to you, Miami, for supporting your local talent. I hope to see you at next month's event!

Did you attend this month or a previous month's Fashion Happy Hour? What were some of your favorite moments? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!
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