Category

Holiday

ONE on ONE

by Mayi de la Vega

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.

 

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.

 

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.             

Giving Feels Good

By | Holiday

We have so much to celebrate from our health to a new home. Why limit gift giving to the holidays?

We could all use a little extra holiday cheer to lift our spirits this year. Channel your inner-Oprah to go big with gifts for friends and family, neighbors, colleagues, clients and anyone else who brightens your day. In case you’re stumped for ideas, here are some timeless gifts to make it a year-round habit.

Wine & Champagne

Holiday festivities and major celebrations like home closings require popping a good bottle of wine or champagne. Online shop 305 Wines recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in Miami. Its founders also run Florida Wine Academy, so they’ll know exactly what to select for any occasion. They join other premier sources like Fort Lauderdale’s Wine Watch and Palm Beach’s Virginia Philip.

https://305wines.com/

https://www.winewatch.com/

https://virginiaphilipwineandspirits.com/

Haute Housewares

We’re also blessed with endless options for luxury home items here, and the diverse selection accommodates every look from minimalism to beach chic. Here are a few of my favorite boutiques including Mrs. Mandolin in Buena Vista, Violetas in Coral Gables and Brickell, and Matilda’s Home in Stuart. You can’t go wrong with this classic decanter from Tiffany’s either.

https://mrsmandolin.com/

https://violetashomedesign.com/

http://www.matildaslifestyle.com/

https://www.tiffany.com/accessories/barware/diamond-point-conical-decanter-69328466/

Flower Power

A touch of green goes a long way, especially as the days grow shorter. Modern floral design has moved beyond traditional arrangements, such as House of Lilac mompreneur’s Melanie Fernandez’s penchant for interesting blooms like ranunculus and lavender latte-hued Koko Loko roses as well as fillers from exotic grasses to berries. She also offers dried flowers, wreaths, spa gift baskets and tucked-in treats.

https://www.houseoflilac.com/

Beautiful Books

Like the late Karl Lagerfeld, I can never have enough books. I love to leaf through them for inspiration and am always adding to my shelves or buying them as gifts. Premier publishers release buzzy titles around the holidays, and we’re lucky that many of them like Taschen and Assouline have South Florida stores to browse in-person. Books & Books does an outstanding job too.

https://www.assouline.com/

https://www.taschen.com/

https://booksandbooks.com/

Gift Baskets & Boxes

Discovering what’s inside a gift basket or box makes me feel like a kid again, and I love to share that joy. Among the dizzying choices, I tend to support businesses with local ties like the artisanal-geared Sparrow Box Co. founded by two mompreneurs in Jupiter. Sant Ambroeus’s and Amici Market’s holiday assortments are to die for, and Countryside Citrus highlights Indian River’s famed fruit.

https://sparrowboxco.com/collections/corporate-client

https://www.santambroeus.com/holiday-products/

https://www.countrysidecitrus.com/

https://www.amicimarket.com/

 

Giving Thanks

By | Holiday

In an unusual year, there’s still so much to be thankful for this holiday.

Thanksgiving grows more meaningful to me each year. Yes, things are a lot different this time. But no matter our difficult circumstances, I appreciate the holiday’s downtime and being around loved ones—even if it’s just for a day, and even if it’s just an intimate gathering. I’m looking on the bright side of things this holiday season and taking stock of what I’m thankful for.

 

MY FAMILY

I raised my children here, and now they’re raising their children here. Until you live in Miami, you don’t realize what a great place it can be for families. I’m grateful that we’re able to live near each other and not to have to get on a plane or drive for hours to visit. I’m so happy that my children have been able to join me in growing our firm, too. They bring such innovative ideas to the table, and I’m always learning from them. I treasure my time with my grandkids. To watch them grow up is a true luxury. I’m also thankful for my love Rich, who’s my rock and biggest cheerleader.

MY FRIENDS

I’ve made so many friends over the years, and they really keep me going. One of the fascinating things about Miami is that it’s an international crossroads where people come and go for holidays, second homes, stints for work and major annual events like Art Basel and the Wine & Food Festival. Some settle down here for good, too, like my wonderful friends who live in cool areas all over Miami. I also have dear friends across the U.S. and abroad thanks to being part of the Sotheby’s global network. My friends have opened up the world to me, and I look forward to seeing them again in safer times.

MY HEALTH

I’m grateful that we’re living in the grand era of wellness. So much has changed in my lifetime in how we eat, exercise and other self-care routines. We’re living longer and staying active far later into our elderly years. I never take my health for granted and am always striving to push myself from not cheating on my diet to working out regularly with my trainer. We’re so lucky here in Miami to be able to get outside during the winter for a walk, yoga, tennis, paddle boarding and more. It makes fitness fun.

MY CAREER

Setting out as a young woman, I never imagined where I’d be standing today. Whereas some people look at real estate as a job, I’ve worked hard to make it a full-blown career that’s constantly evolving and meeting new challenges. I love its mix of business and people—a balancing act that forces me to see all sides of real estate, whether for a home buyer or seller, developer, architect or colleague. Real estate is incredibly fast-paced and exciting, and Miami is one of the ultimate markets. It’s an honor to be able to contribute.

MY “ONE” TEAM

ONE Sotheby’s couldn’t have achieved year after year of growth and commitment without our team. They’re truly invaluable, and I’m forever grateful for having such dedicated associates, executives and all of the support team members from the marketing department to my right-hand woman, my administrative assistant. As we enter new markets and acquire other firms, we’ve added so many new members over the years. I welcome them to our brand and community and am fascinated by their talents and local insight. They’re an endless source of knowledge and strengthen our network, so we can all be better for our clients.

MY HOMETOWN

Since moving to Miami as a little kid, I have put down roots here. I stayed for college, founded my firm and raised my family here, and have gotten more involved in the community each year through professional and philanthropic engagement. I’ve watched Miami evolve from a small resort city to a major international destination with serious education, architecture and design, arts and culture and innovation from tech to medicine. The city has so much going for it—the blend of nationalities, the gorgeous weather, the natural beauty, the beaches and boating, the sunsets and moonrises. It’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with it and move here.

I AM GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOU!