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by Mayi de la Vega

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by Mayi de la Vega

Aspen Summer

By | Art, Culture, Dining, Travel

It’s that time of year when my Aspen reveries turn reality. After Florida’s busy season (that seems to get longer every year!), I like to escape to the mountains with my family and fiancé Rich for some well-deserved R & R. The majestic views alone instantly relax me, though I also look forward to getting out in nature and experiencing all the shops, restaurants, culture and events. Here’s a list of new places and fun activities to explore when you’re in town.

Stay

Ideal for personal and corporate events of all kinds, the family-owned Aspen Street Lodge is available for full buyouts only. Accommodations offer a lot of variety, from a two-bedroom penthouse with a full kitchen to nine traditional hotel rooms with a mix of bunk beds, double queens and single kings. Guestrooms feature smart-tech systems and connect to at least one other guestroom for families traveling with small children and other needs. The extensive array of amenities—rooftop, heated pool and hot tub, fire pit, terraces with Aspen Mountain views, game room and outdoor grill and pizza oven—leaves nothing to desire. Sounds like heaven.

Attend

Aspen Art Museum’s annual summer gala ArtCrush takes place August 3-6. Along with AAM’s new director Nicola Lees, co-chairs Amy Phelan and Jamie Tisch, and 2021 Aspen Award for Art honoree Mary Weatherford, the benefit includes silent and live auctions by Sotheby’s. Bid on more than 45 artworks by artists such as Oscar Murillo, Rita Ackermann and Weatherford; Sotheby’s senior international contemporary art specialist Michael Macaulay conducts the live auction of eight lots during the gala at Aspen Skiing Company’s Buttermilk ski area on August 6. Panel discussions, a classical music art performance, tastings and a Pine Creek Cookhouse hike are also part of this year’s extended festivities.

Eat

New restaurants focus on several types of cuisine from the Basque Country (Joonas) to surf and turf (Catch Steak). Italian imports are also making their mark. Based in the West Village, Dante NYC returns for a second collaboration with the Surf Lodge. The partners had such a great time with their winter pop up at the Snow Lodge, that they relocated to the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort through next spring. While Surf Lodge books live music acts, Dante helms the menu’s seasonal fare. Items like whole grilled branzino and a peach, heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad lean to the lighter side. Complete your al fresco repast with a summery spritz within Dante’s famous cocktail collection.

I’m also delighted that a familiar name from South Florida is opening soon—hopefully by August! After running their super successful Casa D’Angelo locations in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Aventura, restaurateurs Angelo and Denise Elia are expanding to Aspen.  The couple brightened up the space formerly occupied by Piñons with white oak interiors and Western décor. In addition to signature Italian dishes, the menu increases specialty items (caviar, bison, crudos) that appeal to the Aspen palate. Known for sourcing the finest ingredients, they also plan to celebrate Colorado’s excellent meats, dairy and produce.

Shop

Aspen is as famous for its galleries and designer boutiques as its ski slopes. Balenciaga’s year-long pop up debuted in July, while Prada’s traveling, experiential activation “Prada Outdoor” comes through town from July 29 to September 7. The interactive shop encompasses mountain-friendly gear (tents, frisbees, stainless steel water bottles) and men’s and women’s activewear and accessories (shorts, backpacks, sporty sandals).

While Peri.A devotees wait for its new Los Angeles store to premiere later this summer, they’re hitting the Aspen outpost in droves. Owner Peri Arenas stocks her pint-sized space with coveted labels for women’s fashions and fine jewelry. Her roster features Casablanca, Ikkim’o, Marni, Peter Cohen, Colville and Marie Lichtenberg, among dozens of gems. Don’t hesitate if you fancy something, since it will be gone in a flash!

After popping up in South Florida and the Hamptons during covid, international art galleries next followed their clientele to Aspen. Paris’s Almine Rech operates here through September 12. Catch its back-to-back shows “Genesis Tramaine: Worship Works” and “Wes Lang: Endless Horizons.” Los Angeles-based Honor Fraser displays a meta solo show of Richard Pettibone’s replications of Andy Warhol’s iconic soup can series. London’s White Cube pops up in a 19th-century building through September 5. Works by Tracey Emin, Magnus Plessen, Anselm Kiefer, Antony Gormley, Theaster Gates and Isamu Noguchi, among several established artists, are exhibited throughout its summer program titled “Correspondence.”

Ice Cream Social

By | Dining, Florida Finds

Cool treats are one of the benefits of living in a city with year-round summertime bliss.

Now that my grandbabies are out of school and summer is about to set in, I love to spoil them with a trip to the ice cream parlor. This is the very activity that grandparents are made for. Miami has always had its share of ice cream shops, but choices have really ballooned over the last five years. Here are some of my new and old favorites to savor one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Newcomer Salt & Straw is making the biggest splash for its handcrafted, small-batch gourmet flavors. The Oregon import already opened two locations here in Wynwood and Coconut Grove. They get very creative in product development; one of their June flavors is called “Smile: Words & Pictures.” Kids will love it, but they’ll probably go for “Goosebumps: Monster Blood” for the name alone. If this sounds too weird, don’t stress. They also serve classics like chocolate gooey brownie and sea salt with caramel ribbons.

Founded in the Grove with another location in Bal Harbour Shops, Bianco Gelato is dedicated to 100% organic, non-GMO recipes (so you don’t have to feel as guilty when you treat the kids). Its Milanese maker sticks to the standards when it comes to flavors, which instantly transports me to an Italian piazza. Hazelnut, pistachio and cookies and cream are on the menu, plus paletas, smoothies and more.

I always recommend Azucar to visitors who are looking for a taste of Cuba by way of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The owner opened it to honor her Cuban grandmother’s love of ice cream, even naming one of her most popular artisanal flavors abuela Maria (a vanilla base with chunks of cream cheese, ripe guava and crushed Maria cookies). Flavors rotate depending on what’s ripe at the fruit stand. Summer brings mango, mamey and a sugarcane pineapple blend, while grownups always enjoy café con leche ice cream. There are also branches in Dadeland and South Beach.

Soraya Kilgore, chef Brad Kilgore’s secret weapon when it comes to sweets, launched her own culinary concept in the Miami Design District. Made for Instagram, which your tween and teen grandkids will appreciate, her adorable MadLab Creamery goes far beyond traditional ice cream with dozens of cool toppings. We’re talking edible glitter, cotton candy in exotic flavors, Japanese cheesecake and gold sprinkles. These chic works of art are on par with their fashionable neighbors.

I raised my kids near Whip ‘n’ Dip, an institution for generations of families in South Miami, Pinecrest and Coral Gables. The family-owned shop has been around since the mid-Eighties and continues to hand-make its famous flavors from mint chip to cookies & cream beginning with a 14% butterfat base. Hot for summer are “Somewhere Over the RainDough” and “Nutter-o,” which is peanut butter ice cream with Oreos. They’re also known for soft serve, ice cream cakes and hand-blended milkshakes. There’s a reason this place has stood the test of time.

 

Pack Your Bags

By | Dining, Travel

It’s time to start traveling again and visit new spots and old favorites.

Now that places are starting to open up, and people are on the move again, many of us are excited to resume traveling in some form. It may just be a quick staycation in Florida, or somewhere within the U.S., but it will feel like a true luxury regardless. Here are some resorts that I hope will inspire you to book a trip. We all deserve to have a little wanderlust these days.

Western North Carolina’s cool mountains and streams have always been a refuge for Floridians come summertime. Under new ownership by several families, including the Bealls behind Tennessee’s ultra-luxe Blackberry Farm, High Hampton resort and club in Cashiers, N.C., has been fully renovated and upgraded. The once private hunting lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, transitioned to an inn during the early 20th century. Its recent makeover preserved or meticulously replicated its beloved, historic details like the shagbark siding, while adding modern conveniences such as central heating and air (making it able to operate year-round for the first time).

Dining is elevated too. More spacious outdoor dining areas highlight stunning views of the lake and mountains when dining at the Tavern for casual fare and the Dining Room, whose elegant cuisine is helmed by husband-and-wife chefs formerly at Blackberry Farm. Beyond local ingredients from trout to farm produce, guests of the inn’s 12 rooms and the resort’s 47 cottages can partake in a summer camp’s roster of activities. Golf the Tom Fazio-designed course, take a dip in the pool, hike 15 miles of trails, learn the latest court craze, pickleball, or meander the gardens and arboretum. Relaxing is highly encouraged as well, so don’t feel guilty having a spa day or reading a book on the front porch.

The Reform Club in the Hamptons hamlet of Amagansett invites guests to discover its indoor and outdoor vignettes like one would explore a friend’s countryside manor. You might come across its tea house, billiard room or orchard designed by Marders, one of the East End’s premier nursery and landscaping services. There’s so much to see and do without leaving the property, though you’re within walking and biking distance of Main Street should the mood strike.

Choose from three cottages, seven unique suites with private outdoor seating areas, or the 21 House with four en-suite bedrooms, multiple fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and its own sprawling yard.

The wellness concept promotes healing and winding down. Along with a spa, it offers regularly scheduled workouts by well-known instructors such as the Agdal Method and Skyting Yoga in its sunken garden. The hotel staff is also happy to arrange private catering by local chefs or pack a picnic for the beach.

People absolutely fall in love with the Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection, in the Connecticut countryside. The impeccable grounds, décor and spa, a partnership with the Well, are just a few reasons why guests return season after season.

This year’s big news is the arrival of April Bloomfield, an English chef and winner of the James Beard award for Best Chef: New York City who spearheaded the gastro-pub movement in America. The hotel selected her to pioneer its “Friends of the Mayflower” series, which invites creatives from various disciplines to participate in onsite residencies. The chef-in-residence oversees farm-to-table fare for the Inn’s dining spaces, the Tap Room and the Garden Room, a whimsical, greenhouse-inspired wonderland designed by Florida girl Celerie Kemble. Casual dishes include deviled eggs, burgers and New England clam chowder, but Bloomfield also prepares four-course tasting menus based on seasonal bounty.

High Hampton
Reform Club
Mayflower Inn

My Art Agenda

By | Art, Culture, Events

I’d like to share my list of exhibits to visit here and during your summer travels.

A clear sign that South Florida is no longer seasonal is the quality of art exhibits that continue long after Memorial Day weekend. I especially enjoy having this time to visit our many incredible museums, galleries and alternative art spaces to see a good show. Here are some of my picks in Miami and other parts of the U.S., in case your summer travels take you there.

I’m so impressed with the level of shows that the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami is curating. They’re groundbreaking and cool, including when the ICA recently exhibited Drake’s custom Rolls-Royce Cullinan x Chrome Hearts in its sculpture garden. It also organized the comprehensive survey “Chakaia Booker” The Observance,” which is on view through October 31. Though most recognized for her sculptures and large-scale installations made with deconstructed rubber tires and rubber conduit, this American artist uses many other tactile materials from bronze to plastic. The show also features two series of abstract paintings in acrylic on various surfaces like wood.

I’m always curious to see what Nina Johnson has going on at her Miami gallery. Her current show “Bhakti Baxter: Heat Transfer” presents new paintings and drawings by the native Miamian who now lives and works in Topanga State Park near Los Angeles. He continues his exploration of innovative techniques, a process that requires drawing grids in blue chalk on raw canvas, soaking the works in water and painting them en plein air. The natural elements affect their outcome, too, thus the “heat” reference in the show’s title.

Every summer, Guild Hall in East Hampton celebrates a major artist. It’s even more special this time, being the 90th anniversary of the treasured cultural institution for art, theater, music and other events. Concurrent with its summer gala, “Robert Longo: A History of the Present” will be exhibited from August 7-October 17. Taking over the entire museum, his massive charcoal drawings offer a critical investigation of history that spans the Abstract Expressionism movement to today. Held the night before the show opens to the public, the glamorous fundraiser features an exclusive preview followed by cocktails, dinner and music at a nearby private venue.

Everyone’s talking about the Alice Neel retrospective at the Met, but I’m also looking forward to “The New Woman Behind the Camera” from July 2-October 3. It’s about the rise of personal cameras in the early 20th century, which became an important outlet for women to express their artistic talents. The show features works shot by 120 photographers during the 1920s to the 1950s. It really gives a global viewpoint, too, since the selected photographers represent more than 20 countries. Subjects range from fashion advertising to portraits to street photography, while some artists are Dorothea Lange, Gerda Taro and Berenice Abbott.

Aspen Art Museum always makes sure to line up premier shows for summer art lovers, and this summer is no exception. “Cerith Wyn Evans: Aspen Drift,” which opens June 11, is the Welsh conceptual artist and film maker’s first presentation at a U.S. museum in nearly 20 years. The witty title references both the state of feeling adrift, as well as the local context, the mountain setting’s snowdrifts. See his sculptures, paintings and works on papers through October 10.

Don’t miss another show by a poet and artist located outside on the rooftop. On view June 11, 2021-September 18, 2022, “Precious Okoyomon: Every Earthly Morning the Sky’s Light touches Ur Life is Unprecedented in its Beauty” is a mixed-media installation combining sculpture and organic matter including plants, soil and water. Since it’s a garden, which the artist will maintain during her residency here, the work will evolve and grow. She’ll also collaborate with other artists and musicians for live performances and seasonal soundtracks.

The Doctor Is In

By | Beauty, Wellness

Up your skin-care game in time for summer at Dr. Barbara Sturm’s new spa and boutique in Miami.

Skin-care mogul Dr. Barbara Sturm is a familiar face around Miami (I couldn’t resist the pun). With her white blonde pixie cut and glowing complexion, the German natural stunner is instantly recognizable, too. She comes here often to check in with her many fans and accounts like Gee Beauty in Sunset Harbour, one of my favorite destinations for products, facials and other spa services. It makes perfect sense then that Sturm chose our fair city to expand her Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa & Boutique empire.

Following locations in London, Düsseldorf, New York and Los Angeles, her one-stop, skin-care concept recently debuted in the Miami Design District’s Palm Court. The bilevel space’s minimalist décor with pops of color emulates her brand’s clean beauty ethos. A “discovery table” with illuminated, mobile displays invites customers to find the best products within her molecular cosmetics skin-care line for their skin type. She’s forever developing innovative products. A couple new items to pick up are the Super Anti-Aging Face Cream and the Good C Vitamin C Serum. There’s even a children’s line, and hair products are next on her list.

Her facials are also well worth your time. Multiple treatment rooms are divided between the first and second floors for express and full signature facials, respectively. Along with popular treatments like the Signature SturmGlow, the spa menu caters to specific skin types from darker skin tones to a men’s facial. Clients have their choice of several add-ons including microdermabrasion, microchanneling and microcurrent. Miami and Los Angeles also exclusively feature the Summer Facial to repair sun, ozone and pollution damage. Aestheticians begin by gently cleansing and exfoliating skin with her Enzyme Cleanser. The next step cools, soothes and hydrates skin through frozen cubes of Hyaluronic Serum.

 

“In the summer we need extra protection against UVA and UVB rays, pollution and environmental stressors,” said Sturm, of her magic formula for instant results. “Healthy skin protected by a strong skin barrier is the most functional, radiant and glowing.”

She really thought of everything regarding the total experience. Guests can relax in a lounge area, and VIPs have their own discreet entrance. The new Dr. Sturm Professional Line of medically-advanced skin-care products is available at the Miami flagship following a personal consultation in a spa suite. Non-invasive Infrared Therapy is another special service here. Sturm believes in its mood-boosting benefits beyond numerous skin enhancements from increasing elasticity to alleviating sun damage and aging effects. In many ways, the new branch is her love letter to Miami.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Miami in the past 20 years,” she said, of her long wait for the right opportunity and time to expand. “I love its energy and have so many friends here.”

 

Mama Mia!

By | Family, Holiday

 

Here we go again with Mother’s Day celebrations, but let’s make a difference for others too.

The adage goes that motherhood is the hardest job you’ll ever love. As a working mother of two children who now have their own growing broods, I can attest to that. It’s a selfless love that came naturally to me from the moment they placed my babies in my arms. As parents, we always give and give with no expectations of anything in return. As our children become adults, the tables turn in more ways than I ever saw coming. For example, I believe parents look to their children for more love and affection as we age, only to discover that our kids are just as busy as we once were. They’re raising families, working and dealing with the endless laundry list of our everyday lives. It often feels like they don’t have as much time for us as we’d like.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 9, I’d like to stress how important it is to keep our family units close and in touch. Our careers come and go, and all we have in the end is our family. I also think we could use any cause for celebration now, even if you’re not the holiday type. Besides planning something special for your mom or any of the mothers in your life, there are other great ways to commemorate the occasion.

Brunches and other special events are happening all over South Florida, but I like the idea of a charity tie-in. Located in a gorgeous historic building, the Coral Gables Woman’s Club is hosting a high tea on Saturday to benefit the organization’s free children’s dental clinic. It’s just one of their regular fundraisers for this important service.

Many other nonprofits in South Florida are dedicated to helping parents and children year-round. Partially funded by the Miami Foundation and the Children’s Trust, the Miami Diaper Bank collects and distributes diapers—more than 4.1 million thus far—and other baby essentials to low-income families and shelters throughout our region. Donate to its “All For Moms Campaign” in honor of Mother’s Day, and they’ll 100% match your gift.

One of South Florida’s brightest stars is Lotus House, a sanctuary for homeless women, children and young adults. I’m simply blown away by this nonprofit’s devotion and level of resources to help these people find their footing in the world. They give them the tools to thrive and achieve their dreams. Beyond the basic food, clothing and shelter, they create amenities like the Lotus Learning Pod, which was incredibly beneficial when schools were shut down, and wellness initiatives such as the Wildflower Yoga & Meditation Room and Zen Garden, the David and Leila Centner Charitable Foundation Culinary Center, and a brand-new children’s outdoor play area for musical education. Residents also love “The Farm,” a state-of-the-art, hydroponic urban garden and science lab. Kids roll up their sleeves and tend to several varieties of produce from seed to harvest. Their bounty—more than 1,500 pounds of veggies and herbs—feeds everyone including at the salad bar and its homemade herbal dressings. I urge you to check out this place and see how you can become involved. It truly transforms lives for the best, and I can’t think of a better description of motherhood’s goals than that.

 

Luxe Landscaping

By | Art, Florida Finds

Create the garden of your dreams with these top talents along Florida’s East Coast.

Springtime makes me think of flowering gardens and the talented visionaries who create them. We’re lucky that so many premier landscape architects and designers call Florida home. Their touch affects every facets of our lives—our residences, whether single family or high rises, our state’s famous resort culture, and our welcoming public spaces and commercial centers. Here’s a short list of some top names.

Raymond Jungles

It’s impossible to escape the prolific Raymond Jungles’s contribution to the local landscape. His signature design schemes—modern, yet lush with native plants that attract pollinators and other fauna—are ubiquitous. His firm, which launched in the early Eighties and is currently located in Coconut Grove, specializes in both residential and commercial projects. Among the latter, a few are 1111 Lincoln Road (a direct homage to his mentor, the famous Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx), Miami Beach Botanical Garden and Pharrell Williams’s new hospitality venture. It’s always delightful to stay at one of the many Florida and Caribbean resorts whose grounds he’s designed, too, like Casa Morada in the Keys.

Fernando Wong

Panama City-born landscape designer Fernando Wong founded his namesake firm with his business and life partner Tim Johnson in 2005. Their partnership has blossomed into offices in Miami, Palm Beach and the Hamptons for numerous residential and commercial projects including Four Seasons properties in Surfside, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Town & Country recently featured Wong’s gorgeous garden makeover for a John L. Volk-designed home; among many feats, it required relocating a century-old, 90-foot kapok tree.

Enzo Enea

Landscape architect Enzo Enea’s headquarters are based in his native Switzerland, but he opened a Miami office to accommodate all the work he has here. I’m especially proud of his design for One Thousand Museum, a mindful mix of swaying grasses, palms and mangroves that links Zaha Hadid’s futuristic architecture with its natural setting along Biscayne Bay. Though he’s completed many other luxury residential towers like Park Grove, Apogee, the Setai and Oceana, Bal Harbour, he also designs landscapes for private homes. When you’re in Zurich, I suggest visiting his curated arboretum, the Enea Tree Museum.

Nievera Williams

After working solo and collaborating for years, Mario Nievera and Keith Williams went into business together as Nievera Williams in 2011. Their Palm Beach firm with offices in Miami and the Hamptons is behind luxe residential and commercials properties from Shanghai to the Caribbean to their home base like the beautifully restored Royal Poinciana Plaza shopping center. They’ve also dived into other creative areas including outdoor furniture design and garden books. Williams just published his first title, “The Graphic Garden,” which features select estates around the island. Nievera is active in nonprofits, too, including the Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Horticultural Society of New York.

Hayslip Landscape

Heathcote Botanical Gardens board member Sam Comer founded the acclaimed Hayslip Landscape in the 1970s. The recent retiree sold his firm to powerhouse landscape and irrigation company Down to Earth, whose name is often associated with golf courses. Comer’s signature elegance and attention to detail continue with the changing of the guard. For Windsor, the new urbanism, luxury residential community in Vero Beach, Hayslip created much of the common areas including its olive orchard, oak allée and new beach club vegetation, as well as landscaping for many of its private homes. The firm’s work can be seen at other exclusive enclaves such as John’s Island, among its large footprint up and down the Treasure Coast.

Raymond Jungles

https://raymondjungles.com/project_categories/cultural-educational/https://raymondjungles.com/project_categories/single-family-residential/

Fernando Wong
Enzo Enea
tree museum
Nievera Williams

Get in the Golf Game

By | Florida Finds, Sports

Tee off at one of Florida’s incredible courses and watch the Honda Classic.

With the stunning weather and the Honda Classic underway, I can’t help but think about golf now. If you haven’t attended the PGA tournament at PGA Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, it’s really worth your time. The beautiful, relaxing setting, fun vendors (don’t miss Lilly Pulitzer’s Print with Purpose limited-edition collection to benefit Honda Classic Cares), and incredibly talented golfers make for a dream day. In the tournament’s first round alone, Matt Jones, an Australian player who’s ranked 83rd in the world, came out of nowhere to tie the course record with a 9-under 61. It’s also your chance to see defending champ Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka, among so many top players competing through March 21.

If you can’t swing it, I suggest at least playing a round of golf on one of our spectacular courses. It’s no secret that Florida is famous for its number of golf courses. There are so many private and public options to choose from, and it’s the reason why many executives and professionals live and retire here. I’ve created a quick guide for some of my golfing clients’ favorite courses.

Seminole Golf Club

Located on the Atlantic Ocean in Juno Beach, the Donald Ross-designed Seminole Golf Club debuted in 1929. The 18-hole, par-72 course ranks 12th on Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” and is compared to Royal Dornoch in Ross’s native Scotland. Though sitting on a compact 140 acres, the course boasts enough challenges and variety to host the 2021 Walker Cup on May 8-9. The competition, which is being played in the U.S. during spring for the first time, will give most spectators their first peek at the ultra-private club.

Riviera Country Club

Ross also designed the 18-hole, par-71 course at Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables that dates to 1924. Kipp Schulties, whose firm has done a ton of work in Florida, redesigned the course five years ago. The $10 million project was coupled with a new, nearly $40 million clubhouse. With a great pool scene and tennis facility, it’s very popular with families who reside in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Indian Creek Country Club

Indian Creek Country Club is one of the main attractions for residents of the ultra-exclusive Indian Creek Island that’s been getting a lot of press lately for several famous newcomers. But one doesn’t have to live on the island to be a member of Indian Creek Country Club. William Flynn, the visionary behind other iconic golf clubs like Shinnecock Hills and Cherry Hills, designed its 18-hole, par-72 classic layout in 1930.

The Dye Preserve

Named for Pete Dye, the Dye Preserve Golf Club in Jupiter is known for its natural beauty. Old Florida vegetation and wildlife add to the appeal of Dye’s 2002 redesign for his original, 18-hole, 72-par course dating to the Eighties. Though relatively new compared to other courses in South Florida, it has a very strong following and tops many golfers’ lists.

However long your time here, I hope you can get out and enjoy a day on the golf course to see what it’s all about.

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

By | Culture, Holiday

Why I’m celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

As far as women have come, from the right to vote to the #MeToo movement, there’s still much work to be done. Hence, there’s always good reason to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, which falls during Women’s History Month. Founded more than a century ago, the global day recognizes women’s achievements in all aspects of life; raises funds for female-focused charities, and accelerates women’s equality in human rights and economics through its mission involving a call to action, collaboration, philanthropy and uplifting women. The 2021 campaign’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. It’s a rally for true change.

I’m elated to see how many famous faces, household brands and media outlets are getting behind International Women’s Day. No institution is too big or too small to participate. Like most of you, my inbox has been flooded with virtual events and initiatives to support women-owned companies and women-supporting nonprofits. Amazon Live hosted one of the biggest celebrations, a panel discussion with Priyanka Chopra, Mindy Kaling and Diane von Furstenberg, whose new book “Own It:  The Secret to Life” should be on everyone’s reading list.   

The U.S. government also stepped up to the plate today by signing two executive orders to promote gender equality here and abroad. The first establishes an inclusive Gender Policy Council within the White House. Its staff includes a special assistant dedicated to advancing the equity of women and girls of color. As a Latin American woman who lives in the Gateway to Latin America, I’m especially proud that a Dominican-American woman who’s the former ambassador to Uruguay serves as co-chair.

Women’s History Month has only been around since the late Eighties. To honor it, Google’s charitable arm established a new female-focused program. “Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls” donates $25 million to support economic prosperity by inviting nonprofits worldwide to submit proposals through April 9 to receive grants and mentorship. Now’s your chance to apply! There are too many other initiatives to list, but a couple that caught my eye are Pinterest’s retail showcase of women-owned small businesses during March, and Netflix’s $5 million pledge to foster emerging female talent worldwide including training programs for Latinx women.

Some virtual events are the WOW Foundation’s Women of the World festival through March 21. Led by famous experts and authors, WOW’s webinars touch on a range of topics from managing finances to being a grandmother (something I can certainly relate to). I also encourage you to visit womenshistorymonth.gov for lectures, films and other insight throughout the month and year. Think how you can make a difference locally, too. Learn about women’s charities in your community, direct your dollars to women-owned companies, and call your mom, sister, daughter and bestie to tell them how much they mean to you. We women need to stick together.             

Moving to Miami

By | Art, Beauty, Culture, Dining, Events, Fashion, Florida Finds, Interior Design

Here are some of my local tips for new residents.

Being in real estate, I’m often the first person someone meets when moving to Miami. It’s only natural that they want to know everything about their exciting new town and ask for local tips. Since so many people are in the process of relocating here, I thought I’d put together a quick guide to some of my favorite places, services and events. I hope you enjoy discovering them, as well as cultivating your own gems over time.

Shopping

Miami is a shopper’s paradise. I can’t get over how many incredible stores keep opening here. For a local lifestyle boutique, I recommend the Showroom. The owner has been in retail for decades and knows the market. The South Miami location is geared more toward homewares including Tina Frey’s handmade resin pieces, while Coconut Grove carries more denim. For home, I also shop the extensive collections at Luminaire and Artefacto. Both have huge showrooms in Coral Gables, among many locations, if you’re pressed for time.

For fashion, you can’t go wrong with Neiman Marcus’s two stores here. They cater to the stylish side of Miami with more runway looks and interesting designers. I can always count on their personal shoppers, too. The Miami Design District has really taken off in the last few years. It’s become a major worldwide destination for designer brands like Dior and Hermès, as well as contemporary labels. Recent openings include Alexander McQueen and Stone Island, and there are rumors that Chanel’s coming.

Beauty

I can’t say enough good things about Gee Beauty. I wrote about this family-owned spa and boutique’s 15th anniversary in my blog last year. The Gee women constantly amaze me with their knowledge and service. Their facials are the ultimate luxury, and I love loading up on skin care, cosmetics and supplements on my way out.

If you’re from New York or Los Angeles, chances are you’re already familiar with IGK Hair. The partners behind the salon’s initials actually opened their first location here. They’re also known for their inhouse line of healthy hair products like Good Behavior Blowout Balm, the perfect protection for Miami elements.

Fitness

Miami has a serious wellness scene. There are many state-of-the-art gyms like Anatomy, but I trained one-on-one with Faheem Mujahid. Beyond being a master personal trainer, whose practices extend to yoga, meditation and breathwork, he’s a licensed life coach, mental conditioning expert and mindfulness speaker who’s helped moguls to corporate teams from major brands get on the right track. Check out his podcast and website for upcoming workshops. https://www.faheemmujahid.com/about

Dining

I like to eat light without missing out on flavorful ingredients and beautiful settings. Located on the bay in Brickell, Cipriani has one of the most gorgeous dining rooms in the city. It works on so many levels from power lunches to special occasions. Old World details and authentic cuisine instantly transport me to Italy. Milos in Miami Beach offers a similar vacation vibe. I feel like I’m in the Greek Isles with its airy décor and fresh Mediterranean seafood like whole, salt-encrusted fish and charred octopus. Its homey, private dining room is often booked, and the three-course, prix-fixe lunch is super popular.

Annual Events

Miami is as famous for its nonstop events as its moonrises. Many tourists time their holidays here around them, and locals never get any rest during season. Attending the Miami International Boat Show is a must. But of all of the events, December’s Art Basel fair is tops. Not only did it permanently transform Miami in remarkable ways, but the exchange of ideas and the people you meet during art week can’t be compared to anything else here. It feeds my soul, and I learn so much. I always come away with new inspirations and friends.