Top 3: Fashionable SPF Sun Hats

 

Shireen Sandoval, James Woodley Photography, Hat, Beauty
There are three things I must have to survive a South Florida summer: a constant bottle of water in hand, a really strong sunscreen and a stylish, protective sun hat. After all, keeping my skin as young as possible is an absolute must in the television business, which considers on-air television personalities old at the tender age of 29.

That being said, I owe a lot of my skin health to the plethora of “SPF Fashionable Sun Hats” I’ve worn over the years. That’s why this week’s Top 3 is dedicated to my favorite protective hats of the moment. For me, a great hat must be stylish, durable, packable, and breathable.

 

 

Casual_Traveler-LS-web

Casual Traveler by Wallaroo Hat Company/$40.00

The “Casual Traveler” by Wallaroo is my absolute go-to sun hat: it can be worn anytime, anyplace, anywhere. I love the colors they come in, too, which are pretty much anything your heart desires, especially pastels: sea green, lemon and pink are my favorites. Not only is the “Casual Traveler” soft, flexible and fun, it gets the job done. It boasts a 50 plus UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor.) Not only that, it’s made with microfiber and has a 4″ adjustable wide brim. Its hidden drawstring makes it “one size fits all” and helps the hat stay put on really windy boating or beach days. It’s easy, peasy and incredibly comfortable.

www.wallaroohats.com

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SmartStraw Riviera Sun Hat by Coolibar/$69.50

Every South Florida fashionista needs a gigantic floppy hat that says “look at me” and that’s exactly what the “SmartStraw Riviera” Sun Hat does. It’s great for the beach, brunch or just lounging around by the pool. It’s not just bold and beautiful, its massive, 7″ wide brim has 50 plus UPF coverage and shades your face, neck and chest. I also like its comfortable moisture wick elastic sweatband and cotton crown lining. Last but not least, I adore its stylish coconut shell buckle with a wraparound ribbon. The only downside: you’ll  have to spot clean the hat to keep it looking terrific, but it turns so many heads, it’s totally worth it.

www.coolibar.com

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Catalina Cotton Sun Hat by Solumbra/$64.95

The “Catalina Cotton” Sun Hat by Solumbra totally gives me good vibrations every time I wear it. It’s fashionably laid back, but at the same time has just enough pizazz to keep you looking pretty on hot summer days. Especially when it comes to covering unruly weekend hair. I love tucking my messy mane up into its roomy, bucket-like crown. The company calls the hat “fun and flirty.” I wholeheartedly agree, but would add “fetching and fabulous” to the list of complimentary adjectives. It’s the strongest of the lot, with 100 percent SPF (Sunscreen Protective Factor) and a sturdy 4″ wide brim. I love the fact that you can dress it up or down. Hats off to its versatility.

www.sunprecautions.com

“Saying you don’t look good in hats is like saying you don’t look good in shoes.” -Marilyn Monroe

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley

 

Shireen’s Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar (connected to Coconuts)

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

Shireen's Spotlight: G&B Oyster Bar

What:

G&B Oyster Bar, 429 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33316

Why:

Two words for you: “Deadliest Puppies.” Don’t call PETA — these are crab claws, dipped in hush puppy batter and fried. Thank you Lord, sweet baby Jesus! They’re quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth and I’ll definitely be back for more and then some. The funny thing is…

I actually ended up at the sleek and charming “G&B Oyster Bar” by mistake. I was headed to Coconuts (its sister property in the same location,) by way of the Bonnet House (where I was working on my “Shireen’s Favorite Things” fashion blog.) The volunteers at the museum recommended the place highly. Plus, it has a great intracoastal waterfront view.

Instead of waiting for a seat at Coconuts, though, I was immediately attracted to “G&B”‘s lively bar. Especially after a friendly bartender made me a deliciously spicy Bloody Mary. From there, my crew and I snuggled into a comfy hightop and that’s when we were informed the Bar was a separate place. It didn’t matter; we were so ready to get our grub on after a hard day’s work and boy, did we ever!

Stand-out menu items include: The Philly Lobster Cheese Steak, Lobster Ceviche Martini, Crab Empanadas, Dark and Stormy Ribs and Ahi Tuna Poke. Because “G&B” is indeed a fresh seafood bar, I decided to order half a dozen oysters on the half shell. They were yummy and more importantly, fresh. I would have ended with a dessert, but I had so much to eat, I had to limp out of the restaurant.

Despite its great food, what I enjoyed most about “G&B”‘s is its motto, which is: Be Nice. Even though it’s not something you can order and eat off the menu, a server’s attitude can really make or break your dining experience and ours was amazing.

Where:

“G&B” is located right off of Fort Lauderdale’s popular Seabreeze Boulevard, which partially runs alongside the ocean. It’s connected to its sister restaurant, “Coconuts,” another popular seaside eatery right next to the Swimming Hall of Fame.

They have a really crowded, kind-of crazy valet, but they’re friendly and always willing to make it work. I went this past Saturday (during spring break) and despite the madness, they found me and my Spotlight crew a spot. Valet is tip only, but if you leave the property, they charge twenty bucks.

When:

Monday-Sunday 11:30am-10pm, Sunday Brunch 10am-1pm.

www.gandboysterbar.com
IG: @GB_OysterBar
FB: G&B Oyster Bar Seafood Restaurant

There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it is sent away.anonymous

Dress: Hollen & Jen Vintage Showroom
Jewelry: Serendipity Consignment
Purse: Tookata People
Shoes: Emilio Pucci

Editor Matthew Auerbach
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The Run(a)Way Bride (based on true events)

The house wasn’t on fire, but a massive amount of smoke was billowing from the floors and walls. My former stepfather, Jerry, who had just returned from a night of liquor-fueled debauchery, decided to build a fire, but in true “Jerry style,” forgot to open the chimney flute. The hallway leading into my bedroom was so smokey, I could barely see in front of me. I managed to open the door, get down on my knees and crawl to my closet.

A few moments earlier, my mother had hasitly handed me a trash bag and instructed me to quickly fill it with my most precious belongings and meet her and my brother back in the hallway. It was a tricky request, though, considering I was only eleven years old. I grabbed my top three stuffed animals, a few dollies and threw in a few t-shirts and jeans for good measure.

When the three of us reconvened, she instructed us to sneak quietly down the stairs, make our way to the side breezeway door (which was the easiest place to exit the house without being seen) and run to the bottom of the hill (where we would wait for her.) With no time to spare, my brother quickly grabbed my hand and off we went – running into the cold, wintery darkness. I cried quietly at the thought of leaving my mother behind. I had good reason to be scared, too.

The night before, Jerry had come home drunk yet again, deciding (at three in the morning) we needed to have a family dinner together. So he dragged my brother and I out of bed (me by my hair, my brother by his shirt) and took us into the kitchen, where my mother was already reheating a pot of leftover spaghetti she had made earlier that evening. Jerry screamed at my brother and I to sit at the small dinette table and put our napkins on our laps. As my brother and I did what we were told, we wept openly and clung to one another in fear.

Terrified by his behavior, my mother asked Jerry to stop yelling at us and insisted he sit down so she could serve him his meal. The simple request, which was obviously made to protect her children, threw him into a wild, angry rage. He became so mean and so aggressive, it was like nothing I had ever seen before (and thank God, have never seen since.)

Yelling, Jerry grabbed the pot of hot spaghetti from the stove and flung it to the floor. It cracked into big, red-streaked, chunky pieces. He then grabbed my mother by her hair, kicked her to her knees and demanded she eat the spaghetti off the floor. She did as she was told without question or hesitation. Needless to say, my brother and I cried in horror watching her. It was a really long, sad, horrible night that eventually gave way to Jerry passing out on the living room floor. I’ll never forget the look in my mother’s eyes when the violent episode ended. It changed her forever.

The next night, while Jerry tinkered with the fireplace, the residue of smoke he created when he failed to open the chimney flute gave us the perfect opportunity to escape him and my mother seized the moment as if her very life depended on it and (well, it did.) Just as she promised, she met my brother and I at the bottom of that hill and despite only being married to Jerry a short amount of time, we ran away and never looked back. She was officially “The Run(a)Way Bride.”

That night we made our way across three cornfields, walked up a steep hill and crossed a deserted road to get to our neighborhood post office. It was there that we hid in a small patch of pine trees. I still remember the way the sap smelled on my mittens and how the pine needles painfully wedged their way into my light brown corduroys, as I lay on the ground praying Jerry wouldn’t find us (to this day, the smell of pine reminds me of fear.)

Read the rest of the block at www.wsvn.com or shop the blog looks at www.coralgables-bridals.com.

Twitter: @cg_bridals
IG: @coralgablesbridals
FB: Coral Gables Bridals

Special thanks to Susset Cabrera and Peacock Public Relations
www.ThinkPeacock.com

Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval
ssandoval@wsvn.com
www.shireensandoval.com

Photographer: James Woodley
Twitter: @BritFloridian
IG: @BritFloridian
www.James-Woodley.com

Hair & Make-up: Odette Hernandez
Twitter: @Odettehernandz
IG: @O.D.E.T.T

Assist: Jackie Kay
blog ideas: jackie211@yahoo.com

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
MattAuerbach@yahoo.com

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and need help PLEASE CALL 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Top 3: Reasons you should be watching EMPIRE

Empire, Soundtrack, Shireen Sandoval, BRYSHERE GRAY, JUSSIE SMOLLETT, Hakeem Lyon, Jamal Lyon, TV, Signing, Celebrity, WSVN, Miami, Coral Springs, Coral Square Mall, FYE, Shireen's Favorite Things, Top 3, James Woodley Photography, James Woodley, #jamesWphoto
Empire, Soundtrack, Shireen Sandoval, BRYSHERE GRAY, JUSSIE SMOLLETT, Hakeem Lyon, Jamal Lyon, TV, Signing, Celebrity, WSVN, Miami, Coral Springs, Coral Square Mall, FYE, Shireen's Favorite Things, Top 3, James Woodley Photography, James Woodley, #jamesWphoto
Empire, Soundtrack, Shireen Sandoval, BRYSHERE GRAY, JUSSIE SMOLLETT, Hakeem Lyon, Jamal Lyon, TV, Signing, Celebrity, WSVN, Miami, Coral Springs, Coral Square Mall, FYE, Shireen's Favorite Things, Top 3, James Woodley Photography, James Woodley, #jamesWphoto

It’s the show everyone seems to be talking about: EMPIRE. Sure, yeah, it’s sexy, sassy and saucy, but its cast is downright sensational. I met up with Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Gray, a.k.a Jamal and Hakeem Lyon, yesterday at the Coral Square Mall in Coral Springs, where they were signing the soundtrack to the show’s first season.

We chatted about their whirlwind fame and, of course, their hit television show, which happens to be the number one program in the country right now. Its finale raked in over 17 million viewers. Not only were the guys affable, charming and fun-loving, they’re also truly humbled and amazed by their personal success. That’s why this week’s Top 3 is dedicated to “Reasons you should be watching EMPIRE.”

The Music/Empire Soundtrack is available on iTunes – $13.99

Not only is the show chock-full of amazing actors, they can also “sang!” Empire’s Season One soundtrack doesn’t just feature songs by Jussie & Bryshere (his rap name is Yazz,) it also has amazing tunes from the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and Rita Ora, just to name a few. The majority of the songs were recorded right here in the Magic City and Timbaland, one of Deco Drive’s regulars, produced it. My favorite song is the infectious “Your So Beautiful.” It makes me smile, dance and go “up down, up down, up down”!

The Acting/Empire, Season 1 is available on iTunes in HD – $31.99

If you’re just catching up on the Empire craze, the show is about record mogul, Luscious Lyon (played by Oscar-nominated actor, Terrence Howard,) who finds out he’s sick and dying and must find the rightful heir to whom he will leave his fortune. His three sons, Jamal, Hakeem and Andre (played by Jussie, Bryshere and Trai Byers, respectively,) battle it out to rule the Empire. Throw in Luscious’ fabulous and high-spirited ex-wife, Cookie (played by Oscar-nominated actress, Taraji P. Henson) and you gotta a whole lotta drama. Terrence is a master at his craft, Taraji P. is nothing short of riveting and Jussie, Brushere and Trai are superstars in the making. The show, helmed by Oscar-nominated director, Lee Daniels, is a genius blend of contemporary storylines and modern music. One episode and you’ll be hooked.

The Fashion/Specifically Cookie, in all her fabulousness (if you have to ask you can’t afford it!)

Okay, I’m totally, utterly and undeniably obsessed with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and her character’s designer wardrobe. On every single show, she’s dripping in dresses by the likes of Balmain, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen. Let’s not forget about her fabulous accessories: jewelry by Chanel, Roberto Cavalli and she totally rocks Gucci’s latest, must-have blue and black python bag. I haven’t had such wardrobe envy since Carrie Bradshaw and her Sex and the City days. The best part: whether Cookie’s at work, closing a music deal or kicking some young, money-hungry tart’s ass (who she’s trying to keep away from her sons,) she does it all with style. So, just how good is the fashion on Empire? Taraji says: “It’s like high fashion on crack” and if that’s not reason enough to watch, I don’t know what is.

Catch my interviews with Jussie and Bryshere tonight on Deco Drive at 7:30 & 11:30 pm or shop Cookie’s weekly looks at Cookie’s Closet.

Twitter: @EmpireFOX
FB: Empire FOX

“Most women want a man that’s already established. A strong woman will be a part of his struggle, survive it, succeed together and build an EMPIRE.”  ~ unknown

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Writer: Shireen Sandoval
Photographer: James Woodley
Wardrobe: Magenta Couture

Shireen’s Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

Shireen's Spotlight: Siena Tavern Miami

What:

Siena Tavern, 404 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Why:

At night, it’s dimly lit and bolsters a hipster vibe. I was hypnotized by the drop chandelier in the foyer of the restaurant and the long, voluptuous couch that whispers: “Sit here, you know you want to.”

On my new, long, cushy love (the aforementioned couch,) I sipped on three interesting specialty drinks. First-up, the refreshingly sweet “No. 3,” made with honey, lavender and lemon. The “No. 9″ (made with white tequila, sage, cucumber and lime,) was bold and completely unusual. Last but not least, the No. “11,” with basil, lemon, sage and watermelon, was the perfect balance of savory and sweet.

I started my dinner with the “Coccoli;” (which is basically crispy dough bread, stracchino cheese and prosciutto.) It was all kinds of heavenly salty, gooey yumminess. Next up, something light and clean, the “Torched Salmon” (with salsa verde, cherry tomatoes and crispy leeks.) It was a small portion; I could have indulged in another one. It was by far my favorite.

For my main course, Siena Tavern pulled out all the stops with its baked lasagna. The almost pot-pie looking creation (filled with ricotta meat ragu and parmesan cheese) was decadent and delicious. Even though I was full, my good friend and Spotlight producer, Jessie Rosario, insisted I try the restaurant’s famous meatballs and believe you me, they didn’t disappoint. With succulent, roasted tomato sauce, bellweather ricotta and shaved basil, I was one happy camper.

Where:

Siena Tavern is on South Beach right off of Washington and Fifth Street. It’s a busy intersection, but there’s valet in the front of the restaurant and a parking garage on Fourth Street (although, the self-parking cost more.) Your best bet (especially on the weekend ) is to Uber or cab it.

When:

Monday-Friday 6 pm-close, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-close, Weekend Brunch on Saturday & Sunday 11 am-4 pm, Happy Hour is daily from 6-8 pm.

Website: www.sienatavern.com
Twitter: @SienaMiami
IG: @SienaMiami
FB: Siena Tavern Italian Restaurant American Restaurant Wine Bar
Reservations: 305-534-5577

Wine is bottled poetry.Robert Louis Stevenson

Dress: Serendipity Consignment Boutique
Shoes: Elie Tahari
Purse: Bagghy, Miami
Jewelry: (my own)

Editor: Matthew Auerbach
Photographer: James Woodley
Producer: Jessie Rosario
Writer: Shireen Sandoval