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by Mayi de la Vega

ONE on ONE

by Mayi de la Vega

Fresh Beginnings

By | Art, Family, Florida Finds, Travel, Uncategorized, Wellness

My big and small goals for the brand-new year.

Happy new year, and hope it’s off to a good (and healthy!) start. At the beginning of every year, I like to reflect on the road ahead. Building my business, raising my family and supporting my circle from colleagues to community dominated my life for so long. When we give and give, it takes its toll on us. Self-care has received a lot of attention in the media during the pandemic. It forced people to take a break from the rat race and focus on how they were really living. Many of us weren’t happy with what we saw. I’m reassessing what makes me happy and how to grow as a person. It can be challenging, even scary, but I know from my previous accomplishments that there’s no easy way to create change. I’d like to share my to-do list for 2022 from simple, everyday fixes to once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve always dreamt of doing.

 

Move More
It’s all about movement for me this year. That may mean a brisk walk outdoors with the bonuses of vitamin D and fresh air, or more rigorous workouts that keep me on my toes so I don’t get bored. Consistency is key if you really want results. I hope to discover some new fun ways to keep my weight in check, strengthen my bones and core and glow from within. Dancing is one of the best ways to burn calories and improve mental health, so I definitely would like to incorporate more dancing into my exercise routine. Though you can certainly dance solo anytime, anyway, it’s also a great way to connect with your partner and friends. I just may get my grandkids to join me in a dance-off, too.

The Great Outdoors
I’d like to spend more time outdoors regardless of the activity. I’m going to listen to our ancient ancestors and benefit from nature’s healing powers, a practice that the Japanese refer to as forest bathing. Simply by living in Florida, we’re lucky to have close contact with the ocean and healing salt air, as well as its towering trees, wildflower-filled meadows and freshwater rivers and springs. I also hope to visit more places that offer outdoor activities with a wellness component like hiking and biking. It can be somewhere in my backyard or a faraway destination.

Bucket List Trips
I would love to take my family on an unforgettable vacation this year, such as Florence and its surrounding Tuscan wine country with stops along the Italian seaside too. Exploring this rich region’s nature, culture and history with loved ones has always been a dream of mine. After a long hiatus from my initial visit to St. Barth, I’m excited to vacation again in this piece of paradise. The Bahamas are one of my greatest loves, and their waters in surreal shades of blue are a continual source of rejuvenation and wonder for me. I take this image everywhere with me.

Creative Spark & the Pursuit of Knowledge

For many people, a bright spot in the pandemic has been picking up new hobbies or rediscovering old ones. I’d like to get back to my photography. I find the whole process very calming and rewarding. It makes you see the world differently, and there’s always room for improvement and the next amazing shot. It’s something I can do as I age too. It’s important to have a mix of activities that include those you can do more long term. I’d like to make time to read and review my books about art and photography for inspiration, and listen to podcasts especially on the subjects of wellness and self-improvement.

Setting Boundaries & Me Time

I won’t feel guilty about taking time for myself and focusing on my inward journey. When I’m at my best, I benefit those around me most. It’s also important to se boundaries for myself with people who zap my energy or don’t bring me joy. It’s okay to let go and live my best life!

My Gift Guide to You

By | Art, Beauty, Family, Florida Finds, Holiday, Wellness

Don’t panic when it comes to holiday shopping. Here are some great gifts to wow them.

Like me, you have probably been busy with Art Basel fairs, holiday engagements, peak season business affairs and family life. There’s barely been a moment to think about holiday presents, let alone browse and shop for them in-person or online. I thought I could lend a hand by suggesting some beautiful and interesting gifts. Most importantly, take a moment to de-stress and enjoy this special time. Happy holidays.

Cool Books

I love to share “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” with everyone in my circle since it’s helped me so much. The authors reveal the Japanese philosophy about ikigai, which means “a reason for living,” and why the Japanese never retire because they love what they do. Readers hopefully come away with discovering their ikigai.

I treated my son Daniel to a copy of “Art House: The Collaboration of Chara Schreyer and Gary Hutton” published by Assouline. A visual feast for the eyes, it chronicles their 40-year collaboration of Hutton designing Schreyer’s five homes that showcase her magnificent collection of 600 artworks.

The Perfect Handbag

Need I say more than Chanel?! The Parisian fashion maison recently opened a flagship store in the Miami Design Distict. I love its longtime architect Peter Marino’s work inspired by the brand’s iconic, black and white packaging. The location carries ready to wear, eyewear, jewelry, shoes and yes, those coveted quilted handbags.

Posh Pajamas

Campo Collection’s chic pajamas for women, men and children are made locally and sustainably with natural fibers and dyes. Its Brazilian founder, a former stylist for Armani and Marc Jacobs, moved here from New York. She also offers robes, dresses and intimates.

 

Ballet Tickets

Everyone knows and loves Miami City Ballet’s annual performances of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” but really wow them with seats to the North American premiere of Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s new version of “Swan Lake” in February. This is making big waves in the ballet world, and it’s quite a coup for our hometown company.

Uncommon Candles

Since Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson is all about celebrating craft, it’s no wonder his candle line features uncommon scents. Loewe’s Miami boutique, which recently unveiled its new art installation, a large-scale mural by Sol LeWitt, carries the full range of fragrances more akin to kitchen gardens and yards. Some are oregano, juniper berry, coriander, black licorice, tomato, ivy and honeysuckle. Each vegetable wax candle comes in a glazed terracotta holder whose color matches the scent.

Gifts for Guys

Crémieux, the luxury menswear label from St. Tropez, opened a Bal Harbour store just in time for finding the perfect gift for your guy. I love its cashmere sweaters in Miami colors like rose pink and azure blue.

Beautiful pastries, panettone, cookies and chocolates

Who wouldn’t want to bite into a baked good that’s as pretty as delectable? Some of my favorite sources for edible works of art are Sant Ambroeus, which ships its signature panettone and holiday tins of Italian cookies; and Bachour, whose social media star pastries are available at its several bakeries around town. Another great idea is caftan queen Marie France Van Damme’s bean-to-bar collaboration with Hong Kong’s Conspiracy Chocolate. Flavors are inspired by her boutiques’ exotic locales like Dubai, Morocco, Singapore and Miami (smoked pineapple!).

Museum & Botanical Garden Memberships  

Give them an experience that lasts all year long while supporting local institutions at the same time. Think about what they love and where they live when choosing a membership to places like PAMM, the Bass, ICA Miami, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Frost Science Museum, Fairchild Garden, Miami Beach Botanical Garden and more.

Jeans for Teens and Twentysomethings

Re/Done, the Malibu-born women’s and men’s brand for reconstructed Levi’s denim and other reimagined vintage apparel and accessories by heritage brands that’s all the rage with celebs from Cindy Crawford to the Hadids, opened a Miami boutique. Gen Z and Millennials love its sustainable mission and retro styles and fits from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Jewelry with Purpose

Awe Inspired, a New York-based, feel-good jewelry collection, donates 20 to 100 percent of proceeds to partner charities like CancerCare and The Trevor Project. Its popular goddess series with signet rings and pendants is now available in solid 14K yellow and white gold. In addition to mythological and religious goddesses, pieces honor real-life goddesses throughout the ages. Choose from many including Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale and Frida Kahlo.

Charcuterie Boards

Chaya’s Craze Boards is making a name for itself with mouthwatering, overflowing charcuterie boards. Savory and sweet options feature classic items like meat, cheese, nuts, pickles and dried fruit, as well as other less common additions like veggies, fruit, cookies and candy. They come in various sizes on handcrafted wooden charcuterie boards or in boxes.

 

Basel Bliss

By | Art, Culture, Events

Miami shines for the whole world when Art Basel comes to town.

One of the most fantastic things about living in South Florida is our annual Miami art week. What began with Art Basel Miami Beach in 2002 has grown with additional fairs and exciting exhibits and events. I look forward to it every year and am so happy that we’re returning to in-person events. Besides walking the fairs and finding new artworks, I also appreciate meeting people from around the world and learning from them. I plan to soak up the inspiration all around me.


Of course, everything centers on the main fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center. If you haven’t been to the venue recently, it’s been completely renovated for a vastly improved experience. Definitely start here during Art Basel’s invitation-only preview days and vernissage from November 30-December 1. (It opens to the public December 2-4.) Galleries is its main sector, among many, but I’m also interested to see what Museo Tamayo director and Art Basel guest curator Magalí Arriola has in store for the Meridians sector that focuses on large-scale installations. She’s getting a lot of buzz.


There are too many satellite fairs to mention all of them, but don’t miss these two if you’re staying on the beach. Located in Pride Park across from Art Basel, Design Miami introduced an app to locate booths and other news more easily. Untitled returns to its oceanside tent with guest curators who bring a different perspective like Natasha Becker, curator of African Art at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, and Peruvian writer and TEOR/éTica’s former codirector Miguel A. López. To hear more from these fresh voices, they’re featured in the fair’s new IGTV video series #UntitledUnplugged.


Untitled represents the art world’s shift to promote diversity such as artists of color. David Castillo Gallery in the Miami Design District exhibits news works by Pepe Mar, a Mexican artist who’s known for incorporating designer clothing by Versace and D&G into multimedia collages and assemblage boxes. (I also suggest visiting “Tesoro,” the group show that he guest curated for FIU’s Frost Art Museum.) Jeffrey Deitch gallery pops up with an expanded version of its hit show “Shattered Glass” that focuses on works by artists of color and premiered in Los Angeles earlier this year. To explore Latin American art, visit the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) and the Pinta fair, which relocates to Midtown Miami for its 15th edition with VIP previews November 30-December 1, followed by public viewing through December 5. Divided into four sections, this year’s Pinta emphasizes solo projects including a photographic installation by Colombian artist Ruby Rumié.


The rise of NFTs is another major theme for Miami art week. Art Basel fair presents “Human + Machine: NFTs and the Ever-Evolving World of Art,” an interactive experience for viewers with leading artists in the movement. The series takes place December 2-4. The week is filled with tons of collection launches and book signings, too. Louis Vuitton premieres its latest Objets Nomades at its women’s boutique in the Miami Design District on December 1. Patricia Urquiola and Humberto Campana are among the series’ collaborators who will speak. Daniel Arsham, an artist who got his start in Miami before going on to collaborate with Dior to Tiffany & Co., signs his new “Sketchbook” at the Miami Beach Edition on December 1.
With all this running around, it’s important to recharge. Swiss beauty brand sets up its La Prairie Beach Club on December 2 for relaxing treatments and a collaboration with new media artist, choreographer and dancer Wen-Chi Su. Other great wellness retreats are Faena Hotel’s Tierra Santa Healing House and Gee Beauty for the most heavenly facials. For healthy bites, Malibu’s favorite juice bar Sunlife Organics opened a Miami Beach branch near Lincoln Road.

Forty & Fabulous

By | Art, Culture, Events, Music

Congratulations to Miami’s very special YoungArts on its big birthday!

YoungArts, one of the world’s biggest champions of the next generations of artists, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Miami-based organization, it was founded by Lin and Ted Arison to foster U.S. artists aged 15-18 in various disciplines including classical music, jazz, voice, dance, theater, visual arts and film. Each year, hundreds of winners across the nation receive financial awards and a week in Miami to study and mingle with star experts, many of whom are YoungArts alumni themselves. Just to give you an idea of the talent, Viola Davis, Andrew Rannells and Tarell Alvin McCraney have participated in this program, first as teens, and then as instructors. YoungArts also has enough cachet to get famous non-alums like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Debbie Allen and Wynton Marsalis to share their insight and experiences with the kids in master classes. The nurturing doesn’t end there. Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, among many professional networking and career development opportunities and services.

The Arisons passed the baton to their granddaughter, Sarah Arison, Arison Arts Foundation’s board chair who has put her own spin on things. A major rebranding initiative shortened the original name simply to YoungArts and revamped the website and overall look, while recent hires and promotions bring vital new energy to Sarah and executive director Jewel Malone’s vision for the next chapter.

© 2018 Jason Koerner Photography

Many people are already familiar with the annual National YoungArts Week in January, when teens and teachers arrive for workshops and performances that culminate in the YoungArts Backyard Ball at its Miami campus (housed in iconic, historic buildings formerly owned by Bacardi). The 2022 week is slated for January 9-15, but they’re skipping the traditional gala in lieu of a special, earlier celebration in honor of the 40th season. Co-chairs Sarah and her husband, Thomas Wilhelm, are hosting the “40 Years for Artists” birthday bash with cocktails, a seated dinner under the stars and a performance by Queen Esther [and her orchestra], the night’s master of ceremonies who won the YoungArts Theater award in 1983. ONE Sotheby’s International Realty is a proud sponsor of this milestone event on November 20.

More festivities follow with the opening of “The Choreographers’ Scores: 2020” in December. The exhibition features works on paper by U.S.-based choreographers, including Camille A. Brown, who were commissioned to imagine a score as a love letter to the future of dance. The Lapis Press printed editions of their scores handmade in quarantine during the pandemic’s shutdown. You can be among the first to see these rare works at the YoungArts Art Basel Miami Beach VIP breakfast and curator tour on December 1.

I’d also like to recommend attending Nu Deco Ensemble’s performance at the Arsht Center on December 10. YoungArts partnered with the local modern orchestra for this concert featuring original compositions by 2007 YoungArts Classical Music award winner Chris Rogerson.

Looking ahead, the YoungArts New York Gala returns on April 11, 2022. Its inaugural event in 2016 commemorated the 35th anniversary. Here’s to many more great years ahead!

Following Fall

By | Travel

Touring the country in its autumnal glory.

Despite our sub-tropical geography, Floridians love fall colors and traditions. Like reverse snowbirds, we hop on a plane and head north for destinations that promise a quintessential fall experience. Some of us even follow fall, making our way down the East Coast for peak color, or going out west for the gloriously golden aspen trees. Here are some ideas for where to spend a long weekend this season and partake in one of nature’s greatest shows.

 

The Point/Adirondacks, N.Y.

Everyone I know who’s stayed at the Point resort in the Adirondacks can’t stop talking about it. They become obsessed and count down the days until they can return. Once owned by the Rockefeller family, the remote, 75-acre property with a historic great camp (the regional term for a grand lodge) in northern New York is a member of the Relais & Châteaux collection. Each of its 11 uniquely-decorated guest rooms with private baths features lake views, a wood-burning fireplace and porch to listen to the loons. The all-inclusive hospitality concept is also known for its old-fashioned charm, such as scenic boat rides on antique watercraft and regularly scheduled black-tie dinners. You can see why it’s a timeless hit.

Pickering House Inn/Wolfeboro, N. H.

Every fall, leaf peepers descend on New England. The region has so many gorgeous historic inns and resorts, but I chose Pickering House Inn near Lake Winnipesaukee’s Wolfeboro Bay, because it was just rated the top hotel/resort in New England by Travel & Leisure. Local residents Peter and Patty Cooke spent two years renovating the early 19th-century tavern turned private residence for the Pickering family who were instrumental in Wolfeboro’s prosperity. They offer traditional bed-and-breakfast packages in 10 unique guestrooms with gourmet breakfast in Pickering’s Kitchen and priority dinner reservations at Pavilion, their sister restaurant next door. It’s the ideal place to set off for fall adventures like hiking, strolling town and visiting Moulton’s Farm for wagon rides and treats from cider doughnuts to pumpkin whoopie pies.

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection/Newport, R.I.

Also making T&L’s top 10 list for New England, the Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is shaking up Newport’s hospitality scene. Nationally renowned design firm Swoon is charged with reinventing a Vanderbilt scion’s historic, Georgian-style mansion-turned-resort. The original owner’s love of adventure and travel, as well as Newport’s Colonial heritage are among inspirations for the new lobby and library lounge with a fabulous, old-fashioned portrait gallery.

Patrons of the Spotted Pig are delighted that the defunct New York gastro-pub’s British chef owner April Bloomfield has resurfaced at the Dining Room at the Vanderbilt to curate a seasonal selection of her signature elevated tavern fare. In addition to several savory dishes, it’s worth a reservation for her spin on clam chowder.

The abundance of fun common areas welcomes fall delights. Cozy up with a book in the Living Room, dine in the Conservatory, watch the sunset from the Roof Deck, and pamper yourself in the spa. Come early 2022, its 33 guestrooms will be fully renovated too.

Primland/Blue Ridge Mountains, N.C.

Famous for its breathtaking mountain views and luxury amenities, Primland also began as a private retreat. The family built a towering resort and 18-hole, Audubon-certified golf course (designed by Donald Steel) on their 12,000-acre property, which joined Auberge Resorts Collection this year. Among a choice of 62 rooms, one can stay in the lodge or in several types of standalone cottages including a trio of intimate, modern treehouses with romantic baths and ample decks. There are many dining options like Elements whose farm fare (honeyed quail, mixed beet salad, potato and truffle gnocchi with kale) is overseen by a chef who worked at Daniel Boulud and Soho House in New York. In between fine meals, visit the spa and try activities from kayaking to archery. Another major draw is stargazing from one of the largest observatories on the East Coast.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch/Avon, Colo.

Located at the gateway to Beaver Creek in the Rocky Mountains, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is wonderfully restorative. Its mountain setting bursts with fall color, and the luxury spa’s exclusive treatments alone are worth the trip. The Miner’s Mineral Mud Wrap, whose detoxifying charcoal mud uses ore sourced from nearby mines, combines a rose quartz scrub, mud wrap, Vichy shower, and full body and scalp massage with amethyst oil and shea butter. Named for its glowing results, the Alpenglow includes a shea butter scrub, honey and avocado wrap and full body massage. Along with plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas, relax in the stone-lined coed grotto before and after treatments. Multiple, onsite restaurants specialize in different cuisines from Sakaba’s sushi to Wyld’s seasonal, locally-inspired ingredients. End the day with a glass of wine or whisky at the outdoor Fireside Bar.

 

Falling for Art in NY

By | Art, Culture, Events

A look at the city’s art-filled season, which starts this week with tony fairs.

The Armory Show kicks off New York’s splendid art season. The premier fair has lots to talk about this year, beginning with new dates—September 10-12, with a private preview for VIPs on September 9—and a new venue—the Javits Convention Center, which recently underwent a $1.5 billion expansion, enabling modern and contemporary works to be displayed cohesively. There are new sections and programs, too, including Solo, which focuses on single-artist presentations from the 20th or 21st century, and Armory Off-Site, a large-scale, interactive series of public artworks exhibited at multiple sites around town. Among the latter are Swedish artist Katja Larsson’s new sculptures (titled Empire and Materially Superior) that will be on view at Hudson River Park through December 3; and American artist Josh Callaghan’s installation (titled Social Blocks) in the Flatiron Plaza through November 1. Keep in mind that some of the nearly 200 participating international galleries are only exhibiting virtually due to covid. Others will be showing in person and virtually. Armory Live, a two-day art conversations series, will also take place in person and virtually.

There are several concurrent satellite art fairs. The Future Fair will make its physical debut at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. (The first in-person edition was scheduled for last year but pivoted to a digital-only format.) The concept encourages diversity and transparency, as well as supports artists and galleries through year-round storytelling and authentic engagement with art audiences. Half of its participating galleries are women-owned, while a quarter are owned by people of color. Its dedication to inclusiveness marks a big step for the art fair scene.

Storytelling is also at the heart of Independent New York, a fair designed around the artist experience through inspirational settings and an intimate, rare mix of established, emerging and outsider galleries. Forty have signed on for its 11th edition from September 9-12, at the beautiful Battery Maritime Building (home of Cipriani South Street) with three halls overlooking the water and a spacious outdoor terrace for an exclusive café and restaurant serviced by Cipriani. Independent is also introducing an Online Viewing Room option from September 9-September 26. Beyond booths, the inaugural digital platform features exclusive editorial content like artist takeovers, podcasts and videos.

There are too many great exhibits to mention all of them, but one of immense scope should definitely be on your list. The Whitney in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are collaborating on a monumental, unprecedented retrospective of Jasper Johns, who’s still working at 91 years old. The complementary exhibitions, which are concurrently on view from September 29, 2021 to February 13, 2022, required two institutions to cover his prolific, seven-decade career. Nearly 500 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints range from his iconic flags to recent works to selections from his personal collection that are being shown to the public for the first time. A double-entendre, its title “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror” references his longtime study of mirroring and doubles, as well as how the two self-contained shows mirror one another.

Savoring Summer

By | Dining, Fashion, Florida Finds, Travel

Rather than rush into fall, enjoy the last month of summer to the fullest.

Many of us are back from summer break and getting the kids ready for school. But truth be told, we still have nearly a month left of summer to go. I thought it would be a nice to explore summery tips to squeeze out the last bit of this sweet time before the daily grind begins again. I hope you make the most of it!

Get Out of Town

Maine is known for its many grand hotels, but the Claremont stands out for its proximity to Acadia National Park. A Kennebunkport Resort Collection cofounder bought and refurbished the 19th-century property that had been owned by different families over the years. Thanks to his redesign’s thoughtful balance of the old (the beloved croquet greens) and new (transforming one of the greens into an outdoor swimming pool, which is heated for my fellow Floridians, with chic cabanas), it delivers the quintessential Maine experience.

In addition to croquet and swimming, a typical day might involve taking a yoga or pilates class on the lawn with sweeping views of Somes Sound, visiting Botanica Spa for a treatment with Osea products and winding down with a Berry Smash made with Maine’s famous seasonal fruit at Harry’s Bar. Among other drinking and dining options, Little Fern offers duck, steak and local seafood delicacies without overlooking vegetarians through dishes like sweet potato stew with hints of coconut and lime.

I also like all the choices for accommodations. The main hotel’s 24 guestrooms come in three types and three colorways. For more privacy, book the Ocean View and Woodland cottages. Larger parties appreciate the Phillips and Summer houses; an interesting note about them is that they were originally built by separate families as summer homes and were acquired by the hotel as its demand grew.

Improve Your Health

Many of my clients have home gyms, but Anatomy is a terrific alternative. The upscale boutique gym with locations in Sunset Harbour, 1 Hotel South Beach and Midtown Miami expanded to Coconut Grove’s new waterfront development called Regatta Harbour. Its advanced fitness concept is built around integrative wellness and personalization, not to mention making workouts interesting and fun. Tremble, just one of its popular classes, packs in all the necessary components in 50 minutes. Anatomy’s owners understand their clientele’s busy schedules by creating a one-stop, seamless hub. Beyond premier equipment and exclusive classes, members have access to healthy dining, child care services, vitamin infusions, a hair salon and spa amenities.

Devour a Good Book

We are so blessed to claim one of the most incredible bookstore chains in the world. Books & Books has several locations around Miami, but out-of-towners can also order its vast inventory online, including a nice selection in Spanish, online and partake in year-round, virtual literary events. Two authors who are speaking in September particularly inspire me. On September 12, tennis legend and women’s equality activist Billie Jean King talks about her new autobiography with Katie Couric. FIU’s Cuban Research Institute co-hosts “Cuba: An American History: An Evening with Dr. Ada Ferrer” on September 14.

Eat Light

One of my favorite things do to with my fiancé Rich is to have a delicious sushi dinner with just the two of us. Miami’s sushi scene has exploded with newcomers, but one that you should definitely try is Uchi. It began in Austin, Tex., of all places, and opened its first East Coast outpost here in Wynwood. Once you’re inside, you don’t feel like you’re in Wynwood though. The décor is chic, the crowd is mature and professional, and the service is impressive. But most importantly, the food is melt-in-your-mouth good. Each piece of sushi is created as a perfect bite, so you can skip the wasabi and soy sauce (though they’re happy to bring you some). There are elevated versions of Japanese hot dishes, too. Just in writing this, I’m already craving dinner here.

Wear Something Summery

One of the best things about Miami shopping is that it’s always summer—I think that’s why visitors love to shop here! On top of the latest runway looks, including fall and winter collections to wear in colder climates, clotheshorses can find resort looks any time of year. We have so many great resortwear boutiques like En Avance, Beach and Curio at Faena Bazaar. They have great dresses in all lengths that go from beach to night, caftans and adorable matching sets with tops and shorts. Throw on a wedge sandal, and you’re good to go.

 

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