Monday, August 31, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion - Capretto Sparks Shoe Talks In Miami

In Miami, there are retail businesses that have built their stores and then there are retail businesses that have built centers for collaboration and innovation. Capretto Shoes in South Miami constitutes the latter. Led by their Head Buyer, Jason Salstein, Capretto is bringing young, cutting edge designers to meet the Miami market and talk shoes. In the latest iteration of this initiative, Jason has lined up luxury shoe designer Jerome Rousseau for an in-store event on Tuesday, September 1 and a Fashion For Breakfast panel on Wednesday, September 2. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo to read more, including the full event details, in our latest #ThankYouMiami for Fashion column.

What is your favorite shoe store in Miami? Who is your favorite luxury shoe designer? What do you love about their designs? What is your go-to shoe for the Fall? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, August 28, 2015

#ThankYouMiami Talks This Week In Miami - August 28, 2015

Today we're talking about the recently released Miami news and event announcements that, as a Miami-an, you need to know to stay current. As always, we've got a little bit of food, a little bit of fashion and it's all "So Miami". Let's get to it:

1. Storm Watch: Erika. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know there is a tropical storm in the Caribbean whose worst effects, either directly or indirectly, we're anticipating to feel on Sunday and Monday. If you're a jaded local, you've probably spent the last three days talking animatedly about throwing a hurricane party. If you're new to the area (or have lived here during our 10-year hurricane-free streak), you've probably been in a panic as we prepare for what may come. Irregardless, we're of the opinion that you can never be too prepared so we put together a post on how to to prepare for a tropical storm. We hope that jaded or not you will check it out and heed every precaution.

2. Better Days One-Year Anniversary. If you're prepared for the storm, then it's time to party and Better Days in Brickell has the perfect excuse: its anniversary! The chic boutique bar is celebrating one year since it established itself as a Miami hotspot behind its vintage and thrift shop-inspired storefront. Tonight, starting at 9 p.m., join Better Days for complimentary cocktails by Casamigos tequila, Jagermeister, Occulto, and Jameson until they're gone. This is one occasion where arriving on Miami time doesn't pay off.

3. A+Eats: The Search for Miami's Next Great Restaurant Concept. Since it launched, the Arts + Entertainment District (A+E District) has been heavily involved in making Miami a better community. Their latest initiative in collaboration with The New Tropic, A+Eats, is a testament to their continued commitment to this mission. On August 10, the A+E District put out a call for submission of exciting new restaurant concepts. The winning entry, a concept oozing originality while reflecting the A+E District's character, will receive one year of rent-free restaurant space to help offset this startup cost and transform the concept into a reality. Think your idea has what it takes? Check out the A+E District blog for the full rundown of the A+Eats contest. But hurry, the last day to submit is next Monday, August 31 at 5 p.m. at which time we, the people of Miami, can vote on and support our favorite submissions. UPDATE: Due to (thanks to) Tropical Storm Erika, the deadline for submissions has been extended until Tuesday, September 8 at 5 p.m.

4. Roast and Toast Brunch Series ft. FINKA Table and Tap. The Roast and Toast Brunch Series is a culinary event during which Coral Gables' The Local Craft Food and Drink hosts and collaborates with local partners from the Miami food scene. For the upcoming Sunday, September 6 installment, The Local's Chef Phil Bryant will alternate with Chef Eileen Andrade of FINKA Table and Tap in preparing the dishes for a five-course brunch. For the first time in Roast and Toast history, each course will be paired with a craft cocktail from each Chef's respective bartenders. "Our FINKA fans have been begging us for brunch," said Chef Eileen. "We can finally give them a taste of what is hopefully to come in the future." Tickets for this 21+ event are $95 and will be on sale until September 5.

5. Miami Dade College (MDC) Live Arts: Conscience Under Fire. Miami-raised theater artist, Teo Castellanos, directs this spoken word piece at MDC's Teatro Prometeo on Friday, September 11 and Saturday September 12 at 8 p.m. In it, four local Dade and Broward County-based vets of the Iraq War will share their stories of living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). "These four men have traveled to the bowels of hell, physically and mentally," says Teo. "They come back with the determination to heal not only themselves, but the rest of us as well. Through their text they speak of a human condition. Foreign as war may be to most of us, we are all subject to suffering and healing." The event is free, but requires a ticket.

Which Miami news did you find most interesting? Will you be attending any of these events? Are there any news-worthy events we missed? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToPanama - Destination: Cambutal

It is no secret that we love to travel. At any given moment we are either planning a trip, on a trip, or daydreaming about a recent trip. We have even diagnosed ourselves with chronic wanderlust and have prescribed at least one trip (road trip or otherwise) per month to keep us happy and sane. As a result, in the next four months alone, we will be visiting the Dominican Republic, Duck Key, Dallas, Kitty Hawk, Panama, Key West, Mexico, and New York. That's 8 national and international trips before the end of 2015. Exciting, right? More like #blessed.

Every year our destinations change but, if you've been reading us for a while, you may have noticed that Panama made the list again. The reason is that Panama is "our spot". Everybody has that one place they consider paradise and dream of moving to some day - Panama, more specifically Cambutal, is ours. In fact, one of our first travel posts depicted our adventures to an ecological reserve that is only accessible via panga from Cambutal.

We love Cambutal because it is remote. To get there, you have to take a five hour drive from Panama City through paved and unpaved roads, up and down mountains. It's the type of drive where you absolutely need a car with four-wheel drive, as well as a GPS. It's also the type of drive that, for numerous reasons (i.e. a lack of reflectors on the road, semis driving full speed around blind corners), is safest to complete in daylight. Every time we go, we fly into Panama City before noon, rent a car, enter Río Cambutal as our destination in our GPS, and drive straight through, racing against nightfall.

We also love Cambutal because it is a tropical beach paradise. If you've been to Latin America, the drive to Cambutal will seem familiar. As you leave the city, strip malls with KFC and high rises are replaced with mountains, farms, and expanses of bright green vegetation. The scenery remains constant all the way to the coastline of the Azuero Peninsula, where it is joined by beautiful black sand beaches. Our days in Cambutal are spent fishing, exploring nearby tide pools, surfing, watching horses trot along the surf, and discovering seaside caves.

Finally, we love Cambutal because it is a tight-knit community. Locals and expats alike have made Cambutal their home and have curated a positive, neighborly atmosphere that is palpable even as a tourist. We stay at Hotel Playa Cambutal, an absolutely gorgeous property past the center of town, because of its hospitable and charismatic staff, its proximity to surf breaks, and its central role in the local community. Delicious food and abundant WiFi, a rare commodity for such a remote location, have made Hotel Playa Cambutal a key local hangout. The hotel fosters its special role in the community by hosting events including sport broadcasts, happy hour specials, and themed nights. The community's vibe is what makes Cambutal, and Hotel Playa Cambutal at its epicenter, such a special place to stay.

This year, like last year, we are headed to Cambutal during the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a few months (and a few trips) away. In the interim, here are a few photos from past trips to show you what keeps us coming back again and again.

What is your travel "spot"? Have you been to Panama? What parts? What did you like most about Panama? As we plan for our travels, do you have any recommendations for our upcoming trips? Are there are any must-visit spots at any of our 8 destinations? We would love to hear from you! Send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami or leave a comment below.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for On-Demand Services

Miami is a challenging city because there is so much to do, but like everyone else we have only 24 hours days. That's why time management is a critical skill for residents who want to make it here, as well as for visitors who want to make the most out of their stay. But even the most seasoned planners are limited in their efficiency by travel times in the 305, which can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time of day, your destination, and your route. That's why we're super grateful that on-demand services - that is, services that you can order within a few hours and come to you - are  a "thing" in Miami.

In our latest feature for Cruise Port Advisor, we share three local on-demand services you need in your Miami toolkit. Whether you're looking for transportation, a beauty treatment, or a moment of zen, they've got you covered with as little as one or two hour's notice. Best of all? You can request and receive these on-demand services anywhere in Miami. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature.

Have you used an on-demand service in Miami before? Which one? What did you think? Which of the three services featured are you most excited to try? Why? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, August 21, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Kid-Friendly Restaurants

None of us at #ThankYouMiami are parents yet, which is why you rarely see us writing about kid-friendly places in Miami. When we go out, we don't even think about whether a place is good for children because we don't have to...except when we go out with our friends who have kids. It is in scheduling time with them that we really have to wrack our brains or theirs for venue suggestions. For example, we quickly learned that Yard House is 1,000 times preferable to Yardbird for Sunday brunch with kids because its a less hectic, less expensive option - two must-haves on a parent's kid-friendly checklist. Over time, we have developed a go-to list, if you will, of kid-friendly restaurants in Miami which #ThankYouMiami contributor Brad Wells shares with us in his latest column for Localeur. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full feature.

What are your go-to restaurants for meals with children? What are some other kid-friendly places around Miami you like to visit? What tips do you have for parents that are visiting Miami? That are moving to Miami? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#ThankYouMiami For Fashion - How To Pack For The Beach

It's hump day so, in a fit of wanderlust and weekend dreaming, we're talking beach day essentials. Specifically, as your resident beach experts, we're sharing years of beach bag packing intel. Read the excerpt below and click on the photo for the full post, the latest in our #ThankYouMiami for Fashion column.

What tips do you have for someone heading to the beach? What is are your beach day essentials? How do you pack for a Gulf Coast beach trip? An Atlantic Beach trip? A day at the beach club? Do you have any follow-up questions on our beach day essentials and our tips? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, August 17, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Buying and Selling Local - #MiamiFlea


This summer in Miami has been unbearably hot and yesterday was no different. Nevertheless, in a testament to our growing sense of community, hundreds of Miami-ans seized an otherwise perfect Sunday to shop local at the Arts and Entertainment District's first ever Miami Flea. Like past A+E District events, the market activated the currently unused site of a future Canvas Miami project. This time, the space welcomed 30+ of our neighbors as vendors, including our friend Tiffany Zadi of Heist, and gave them a place to feature their handmade and vintage repurposed goods.

"What makes Miami Flea especially unique is that it's the first one ever to be carefully curated in a way that incorporates all kinds of local Miami talent and vendors," said Isabella Acker, the A+E District's culture curator, to the Miami New Times.

Yes, we don't do lines and yes, there was a line wrapping around the block when we arrived at Miami Flea but the #ThankYouMiami team was on a mission. We were on a triple-threat quest to: (1) buy unique "thank you" gifts for our friends; (2) find "SO Miami" décor for our new office; and (3) find new vendors to support through our blog. Our patience was handsomely rewarded. For our friends, we bought two ceramic octopus tentacle necklaces from The Clay Cache and two handmade "thank you" cards from Scissor & Spool. For our office, we bought a succulent garden in a Japanese tea pot from La Succulenta and a Miami print from Two Palms Art Bazaar. In them, and in all of the other vendors we met, we found friendly, talented people who we can't wait to watch grow their business and support along the way. All in all, yesterday's Miami Flea was a very productive (and surprisingly inexpensive) day!



Friday, August 14, 2015

#ThankYouMiami HQ: WeWork Lincoln Road

Today is a short and sweet ode to co-working spaces, specifically our new HQ: WeWork. Who would have thought when we first wrote about Miami's growing start-up scene and the state of co-working affairs that in two short years we would find ourselves growing our own start-up at a co-working space? Yet, here we sit writing this story from our very own, very real office on the 5th Floor of WeWork Lincoln Road and we couldn't be happier.

The decision to move to a new office was an exciting but daunting one. We had visited co-working spaces before for events and researched them thoroughly for our features on entrepreneurial activity in Miami, but we had never shopped them through the lens of a user. Now that we have, we can see us having an office at all of them. The communities are very different; their benefits are varied; and, their locations give each of them a unique vibe. In the end, we were excited to join new kid on the South Beach block, WeWork, for their central location, their pricing options, their worldwide community and, most importantly, their "So Miami" vibe.

As you will see from the photos below, the décor perfectly highlights Miami pride with stunning views of South Beach. Plus, we were pleasantly surprised to find our friend Mandy Baca's book Vintage Miami on the coffee table of our floor's lounge area. Oh, and yesterday they threw a Havana Nights party with croquetas, empanadas, tropical cocktails by nearby watering hole Repour Bar and salsa the lobby. It. Was. Awesome. Just like our first two weeks here have been.

Today at happy hour, join us in a toast to our new super cool office. May our move here be but one milestone of many in Thank You Miami's history!

What do you think of WeWork Lincoln Road? Do you work out of a co-working space? What do you like about it? Why did you choose to work out of there? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Local Cocktail Culture - National Rum Day

It's hump day in the 305 and nothing goes better with our extra shot of colada than the promise of delicious weekend cocktails. Now we're normally not fans of national (insert every day item here) holidays. On Instagram, we are bombarded about posts of one almost every day and we're kinda over it. But, as South Beach's resident cocktail connoisseurs, we never turn down and excuse to celebrate local cocktail culture and/or rum. Alas, today we are pre-gaming National Rum Day, also known as Saturday. Here are four recipes inspired by South Florida you need to try this weekend:

1. Botran Skinny Colada

Monday, August 10, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Bikini-Friendly Snacks - G.H. Cretors Giveaway

Another week, another bikini-body secret revealed AND another giveaway. How lucky are you? Today we're talking popcorn, the perfect snack. Specifically we're talking about G.H. Cretors popcorn because their family has been perfecting the art of making popcorn since the 1800s and has their products in almost every Whole Foods, Publix, Winn Dixie, etc. from South Miami to North Miami Beach.

We are avid snackers - as in, people constantly remark how we're never not eating every time they pass by our office - and we're proud of it. After all, isn't the secret to a speedy metabolism to eat throughout the day? Our problem is that we also tend to favor the high everything (calories, sugar, fat) snacks such as cheese. Popcorn is the one snack we can depend on throughout the day that tastes good, won't eat up our daily calorie intake, and is filling. Plus, it has the benefit of coming in different flavors to fit our various cravings, sweet or salty.

Out of the billion and one popcorn brands, G.H. Cretors stands out because of their flavor variety. Their popcorn comes in (from healthiest to most indulgent): Simply Salted, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Just The Cheese Corn, Chicago Mix, and Just The Caramel Corn. If you're on the fence about which one to try first, you can follow our lead and start with the sampler pack which has them all. We've been eating our way through one for the past few weeks and found that there's a perfect situation for each flavor.  For example, Simply Salted and EVOO are best for the beach when you're in a bikini and super conscious of your body. On the other hand, the Chicago Mix is best for midnight snacking in sweats because it has both salty (cheese) and sweet (caramel) flavored popcorn so you alternate between them without leaving the couch. The Just The Cheese Popcorn? Well, we're cheese lovers so it's always a good time for that one.

As avid popcorn eaters - nay, popcorn snobs - we are very particular about our popcorn, but G.H. Cretors passed our taste test. They do some of their flavors differently than other brands, especially the cheese, so we recommend starting with the sampler pack to determine which kind(s) you like best. Lucky for you, a sampler pack is what's on the menu for today's giveaway so don't forget to enter below. Happy snacking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What is your favorite snack? What is your favorite popcorn flavor? What is your favorite brand of popcorn? Have you tried G.H. Cretors popcorn? Which flavor did you like best? Why do you want to win the sampler pack? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Friday, August 7, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for "So Miami" Swimwear

Inspired by our recent swimming workout (attempt) and the arrival of the weekend, we are looking back at our Miami Swim Week encounters to bring you "So Miami" swimwear inspiration. We're talking three bathing suit styles covered in the good stuff: ice cream, flamingoes, and palm trees. If it is tropical or summer themed, we love it, we need it, and we want to share it with you. From our closet to yours, you're welcome! P.S. Don't forget to enter our Withings giveaway before Monday so you can track your beach galavanting toward your health and fitness goals!

1. Ice Cream Print: Now you can have your ice cream and eat it too! Shop this look here and similar looks here, and (our favorite) here.

Photo via Mod Cloth

2. Flamingoes: We saw some really unique flamingo pieces at Hammock Show that we can't wait to find in stores soon. In the interim, Kate Spade's summer collection wins our flamingo loving hearts. You can find it here and similar styles here and here.

Photo via Kate Spade
3. Palm Tree Print: This is by far the most popular and overdone trend of the season but we're palm tree obsessed so we couldn't help ourselves. You can lee-te-ra-lee find thousands of palm tree print swimsuits everywhere so, for this, one we'll leave your shopping to fate and Google. That said, you can buy the stunning River Island piece below here.

Photo via River Island

What is your favorite swimwear trend of the season? Which "So Miami" inspired look(s) do you like best? Are there other "So Miami" looks you would have liked to see on our list? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion (And Function) - Withings Activité Pop

Today on our #ThankYouMiami for Fashion column we're talking about arm candy-worthy fitness and health trackers. Plus, we share how we went from aiming to be a career "hot mom" à la Jessica Alba to bailing on our workouts for just a few more minutes of sleep to choosing the stairs over the elevator. And, for those of you like us need accountability, we're giving away a Withings Activité Pop! Read the excerpt below, click on the photo for the full feature, then come back and enter for your chance to win. Happy health-ing!

How do you keep active? What do you need to feel fit and healthy? What is your favorite workout? What do you like best about the Withings Activité Pop? Why do you need one? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Monday, August 3, 2015

#ThankYouMiami for Themed Weeks - Miami Spice Month 2015

Most cities track the passing of time with calendars. In Miami, we keep track by the theme of the month, which in August and September means Miami Spice Month. In past years, we have researched the entire list of participating restaurants (a record 194 this year!!) and released a list of our top choices. This year we're shaking things up by pointing you instead to the top pick lists of our go-to Miami food resources and sharing which of their recommendations we're most excited to try. Make sure to search each one on the official Miami Spice Month page for the full details of their participation, including available days and menu options. Bon appetit!

1. Evan Benn, Miami Herald Food Editor
Evan broke down his "Best of Spice" picks into four categories: Newcomers, New chefs, High-end, and Off the beaten path. We've been dying to try all three Newcomers since they opened (and we probably will at a $23 prix-fixe price tag for lunch and $39 for dinner) but, after our recent experience at Chef Bernstein's Sra. Martinez pop-up at 1930s House, Cena by Michy is priority number one. Spanish food is our default comfort food so, where New chefs are concerned, you will find us eating our feelings about Chef Julie Frans' departure from Essensia at Piripi. As far as Evan's High-end and Off the beaten path suggestions, we're still undecided. We agree that we should use Miami Spice as our excuse to shoot for the stars and venture beyond our usual haunts, but we're looking at our other foodie friends to recommend options already on our Miami food bucket list.

2. Mitch Nover and Mel Garcia, Mitch and Mel Take Miami
They may not know this yet, but Mitch and Mel are our food soul mates. Everything they eat, we have eaten, are eating or may eat in the near future so it made perfect sense to peruse their blog for Miami Spice inspiration. We were not disappointed. We found a "Miami Spice 2015 Preview" that starts with a ton of Toro Toro food porn and delves into their individual restaurant picks. Reasons why we love Mitch? He offers two suggestions, Milos by Costas Spiliadis and Izzy's Fish and Oyster, in our neighborhood (and you know how much we hate leaving South of Fifth...) so we'll definitely be trying both. Mel also caters to us by making her four picks restaurants already on our aforementioned Miami food bucket list: Byblos, Chef Adrianne's, Cena by Michy, and Izzy's.

3. Dianne Rubin and Geoffrey Anderson, Miami Food Pug
Dianne and Geoffrey are onto something. After all, they gained over 10,000 followers in only their first year as Miami food bloggers. In their "Miami Spice 2015: Our Top Picks", they list over 25 options on the Beaches and the Mainland. They took the time to breakdown what is offered, what sounds delish, and a special tidbit for each. We were happy to see them include a couple of our Miami culinary favorites like Dolce Italian, STK Miami, Bocce, The Federal, Ortanique On The Mile, The River Seafood and Oyster Bar, and Sugarcane. We also spotted restaurants from our Miami food bucket list that have not been previously mentioned including Michael Mina 74, Red The Steakhouse, Fooq's, and Mignonette.

Which Miami Spice participating restaurant(s) do you have on your must-visit list for this year? Will you be visiting them for the first time? Will you be going for lunch or dinner? What are you most excited to try from their Miami Spice menu? Which of the restaurants above did you just add to your list? Are there any that we missed? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToNewYork - Our Windham Summer As Memorialized by Music

Have you ever been listening to music and thought "this song is the perfect soundtrack for this moment"? We have and it gives us chills. Ever since we were teens, we've dreamt of curating the soundtrack to a movie - the way Zach Braff created magic in Garden State and Hans Zimmer did in the Gladiator (and all the other movies he's scored for that matter). We're suckers for accompanying an experience with a song that properly conveys or heightens our emotions and, during our summer trip to Windham, New York, jazz vocalist Kat Reinhert's album "Spark" did just that.
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