A Christmas Clutch

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a peach ruffle dress by Vchic Boutique and holding a glamorous evening clutch by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley Photography.

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a peach ruffle dress by Vchic Boutique and holding a glamorous evening clutch by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a purple velvet dress by BCBG on South Beach. Holding a glamorous beaded evening clutch by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley Photography.

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a purple velvet dress by BCBG on South Beach. Holding a glamorous crystal beaded evening clutch by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley Photography. Beaded bag with jewelry to match modeled by Shireen Sandoval.

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a green peacock dress with a matching peacock purse by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays or a special party. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley Photography.

A Christmas Clutch. Shireen Sandoval fashion blog, Miami FL. Wearing a green peacock dress with a matching peacock purse by The Limelight Collection. Bedazzled purses, bags and clutches for the holidays. Modeling a knuckle ring. Also featured on Deco Drive Television and photographed by James Woodley Photography. WSVN, Channel 7 News.

What:

The perfect holiday purse sure to add pizazz to any kind of party outfit and more importantly, you won’t have to sell a kidney to buy one.

Why:

I’ll never forget the first time I wrapped my stubby little fingers around a Judith Leiber handbag; I was absolutely mesmerized. The sparkles, detailing and quality — I was stunned. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever seen anything like it. I asked the woman behind the purse counter at Bergdorf Goodman: “How much?” She barked out a price so astronomical, I almost passed out. After a deep sigh…

I carefully placed the bedazzled clutch back into her already outstretched hand and fled the swanky department store like a fashion criminal. As I pushed through the heavy revolving doors, the brutal NYC winter wasn’t the only thing that slapped me in the face. My mother’s voice did, too..

Even though she lived in New Mexico, I could hear her like she was standing right next to me on 5th Avenue: “You know, Shireen, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” My mom used to do that a lot when I was young, give me what she called “tidbits of wisdom,” which were usually met with a dramatic eye-roll or better yet, an impressive lip sync. When I became a teenager, I’d memorized all the tricks in her bag, so when she droned on, I could silently mouth her advice verbatim.

After that humiliating Bergdorf Goodman moment…

I found myself in the same situation; albeit, a few years later. This time, a dazzling clutch called to me from the window of a chi-chi hair salon on the Upper East Side. It was so awe-inspiring, I stopped dead in my tracks, swung open the salon door and asked if I could see the pretty purse up-close. I was determined to buy this one.

“Is it a Leiber?” I asked quietly.

As the receptionist unearthed it from its glass case, she blurted out: “No, but it may as well be for the price!” Sweat beaded on my upper lip as she passed the purse off to me like a sloppy football play. “Isn’t it gorgeous?,” she purred in her thick Long Island accent. “How much?” I asked, like someone who was about to get hit. “For you? Two-thousand.”

I stared at her briefly, handed it back and finally realized my mother was on to something…

That day, I decided to bury my whimsically wonderful dream of owning a fashionable, high-quality, exquisitely beaded bag. Instead, I settled for clutches that were more like: “it’ll get by in the dark if no one inspects it.” I don’t wanna be a total naysayer; I mean, over the years I’ve had some pretty good ones (a few I’ve even worn in the light of day,) but that Leiber? Man, that thing haunts me like a “Ghost of Christmas Past”…

That is, until a few weeks ago.

Let me back up a little to tell you exactly how “A Christmas Clutch” came into my life. When I get blog submissions, I divide them into five categories: YEZZZZZ, yes, maybe, no and NEVER EVER (even if I lived on the left side of Mars.) If the topic falls somewhere in-between “yes & maybe,” I usually ask the person/designer to send me a sample of the product/ fashion, not as a gift, as a way for me to make a solid judgement..

Come on, we all know how it goes these days: a decent camera, a few filters and a beauty app later and anything or anyone can look like a million bucks, but that’s not the TRUTH and telling the truth is imperative if you’re a journalist, even an entertainment one. (Full disclosure: I do like a good beauty app.)

Unfortunately, I’ve learned the “buyer beware” lesson the hard way. Don’t get me started on the products and fashions that have missed the mark. It’s an on-line epidemic fed by social media and solidified by “product exchange” by social media “influencers.”(Fake followers, etc.) Sometimes it works, but a lot of the times, it just doesn’t. QUALITY IS KEY and buyers remorse sucks for all of us.

It was a rainy morning when I first opened the medium-sized box from “The LimeLight Collection.” I was skeptical, but curious. I had seen a few photos of their purses and they looked pretty legit, but the aforementioned paragraph kept me from becoming a true believer and there was that whole Bergdorf thing, too.

Then, it happened…

“A Christmas Clutch” — lit up my life like the noon day sun. First, though, I took it out of its sleek black container that gave way to a soft, velvety pouch and carefully slid out the most glamorous, eye-popping purse (move over, Judith Leiber, there’s a new fashion sheriff in town.) It felt good, it looked great and I was INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED.

Note to self: call the brainchild behind “The LimeLight Collection” ASAP.

I’ve never met Ebony Daniels Sanon in person, but when we talked over the phone the following day, she was warm, direct and affable.

Ebony described “The LimeLight Collection” as “daring, classy and unique.” What’s more, she told me they had more than just holiday flair. She insisted: “You can wear them anytime, anywhere and with anything.”

Then came the question I was dreading, but HAD to ask: “How much?” Without hesitation, Ebony happily shared: “Around two hundred dollars.” She didn’t know it, but on the other end of the line, I was smiling wide like a Cheshire Cat.

Ebony knows what women want and it’s not just an amazing clutch, it’s about the experience of it and how a trend can hold its maturity; eventually becoming a classic. When that happens, “A Christmas Clutch” can easily find a permanent place in your closet.

Handmade, inspected to perfection and one-of-a-kind, “The LimeLight Collection” definitely made one of my most elusive fashion dreams come true and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things. Happy Thanksgiving!

Where:

Shop the collection here: www.thelimelightcollection.net

Be Social:
FB: @TheLimeLightCollection
IG: @thelimelightcollection
Twitter: @LimeLightColl

Move like you move
Oh, dance for the night
Everyone’s turned to watch you
Hold the spotlight.Alex Parks
James Woodley Photography
All holiday clutches by “The LimeLight Collection”
Peach Dress @Vchicstore – Purple Velvet Dress @bcbgsouthbeach & Green Peacock Dress @laundrybyshelli
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Captain Clutch” Auerbach

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

’Tis the Sequin…

What:

Turning up the wattage on my Holiday wardrobe, because a girl can never go wrong wearing sequins from November through December (and some other stuff I felt like writing about, too.)

Why:

My editor, Matty, always says when you’re a writer: “There’s nothing scarier than a blank computer screen staring you in the face.” He hates the blinking black cursor, too. “It’s like it’s taunting you, making fun of the fact you have writer’s block,” he quips with his brash New York sensibility. I agree.

I don’t have writer’s block, per se, but I’m torn between writing a deep moving piece about what the holidays mean to me verses what I like wearing during the “most wonderful time of the year.” So, with fair warning: this blog is a bit of both. If you’re a regular reader, you know I have fragile health, so the next paragraph is a must-read.

I feel GOOD, better, stronger (not my body, necessarily, but my mind) and THAT is a powerful thing. After hurricane Irma, I struggled A LOT, which I know most of us did, but a few weeks later (when things got back to normal,) I went through a surprising mini-transformation. The storm gave me a sense of strength I didn’t know I still had. I thought my GBS/CIDP had, frankly, beat it out of me. It didn’t.

Exhausted, I pushed through almost two weeks with no power, a major knee injury and a hole in my heart; I worried about everyone and everything around me. My little family was struggling, but instead of letting trauma divide us, it brought us closer together. After the storm…

I de-cluttered my house and personal closet (which is no easy task when you’re a fashionista.) I did so partially because of storm damage, but also because I needed to for my sanity. I got rid of STUFF (from a previous relationship) that was weighing me down. We all know how that extra “baggage” goes. After I was done, I could hear the parapsychologist from the 1982 movie “Poltergeist” saying matter-of-factly: “This house is clean.” Next…

I focused on elevating my performance at work (on TV); paying close attention to skills that often fall by the wayside because of age and experience. I took notes, worked on inflections, breathing and mulled over what it meant to be an entertainment journalist in 2017.

I also took a few days off, left Miami and spent time with my family. THIS always helps me, because I feel loved, nurtured and part of something more important than the rat race of my career. As I’ve grown older, spending quality time with special people is food for the soul.

During my mini-transformation, I also found out I have high blood pressure — like, dangerously high; forcing me to re-evaluate the necessary and cut out the evil (like gas station wine, turkey jerky, needy people, DRAMA and anything or anyone high maintenance.) I’m slim and watch what I eat, but STRESS is trying to kill me. Imagine the humor I find in that.

I survived some crazy virus that wreaked havoc on my nerves & immune system and now, high blood pressure wants to have its way with me? Take a number and stand in line. 😂

As the year gallops toward its end, my mini-transformation has given me a deeper sense of gratitude and thankfulness which, coincidentally, is how a lot of us feel around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years. The holidays are special for a lot of different reasons, but as a woman, it’s a time when I do a little more for the people I love, my house and my wardrobe. And, MAN, do I eat it all up (literally & figuratively)…

The generosity of spirit, the togetherness, the food & drink (turkey and stuffing is my favorite,) my Christmas tree and especially the extra sparkle and shine I add into my #OOTD. That’s where Vchic Boutique in Hallandale comes in.

It’s just one of those places where you can always find what you’re looking for and moreover, something special: a great top, a fabulous dress, a sexy romper.

Owner Andreina Hernandez, who happens to be a gorgeous brunette with a smoking hot body, knows fashion, but in a way that’s romantic, feminine and chic — all the things I believe clothing should be. “For the holidays, it’s all about the sequin,” she says, as she describes what’s in for the woman who wants to dress on trend.

“You can wear them day or night, you just have to commit to one color scheme,” she adds. Avoid looking like a holiday display by keeping your sequins to one portion of the body (top or bottom.) If it’s a full-on glittery dress, accessories should be simple. AND, if you’re showing a lot of leg, cover your boobs and vice versa. Leaving something to the imagination is a gift we can all appreciate.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight at 7:30 & 11:30 p.m. as we go inside Vchic Boutique and get dressed up for the holidays. From day to night, work to play, ‘Tis the Sequin…is one of my Favorite Things and I’m hoping it will be yours, too. ✨

Where:

Vchic Boutique
1011 Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Hallandale Beach, Florida 33009

When:

Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm

www.vchicstore.com

Be Social:
IG: @vchicstore
FB: @vchicstore

I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time.Lady Gaga

’Tis the Sequin…

Sequins by #annieSS

James Woodley Photography
Holiday looks by @Vchicstore
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “I Can’t Think Of Anything” Auerbach

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

It’s in the JEANS

What:

My elusive hunt for the perfect pair of jeans at CAVEAT in Wynwood.

Why:

I have a fashion confession: I don’t like jeans. In fact, sometimes I actually despise them and not for lack of trying. Believe you me, I’ve worn them all: skinny, wide, tight, lose, stretchy, stiff, cuffed, ripped, patchwork, pre-washed, raw, regal, dark, light, designer, department store, expensive, cheap. You name it, I’ve wiggled my way into the best of them, “butt”…

When I turn to check my backside, Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” creeps in to my head. “Oh, my, God Becky, look at her butt.” While I don’t mind having “junk in my trunk,” so to speak, it’s all about presentation. Even though I have a slight build, I do have curves and when stuffed into the wrong pair of denim, that famous line from the 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias” comes to mind…

The one where Olympia Dukakis’ character, Clairee, refers to a woman’s backside as “two pigs fighting under a blanket.” And don’t even get me started on trying to bend over in the latest pair of must-have’s! That’s when my apple bottom jeans scream: “Crack is Whack!” Or better yet, “Crack Kills” and showing one’s nether regions is never on trend unless, of course, you’re living in a nudist colony and why would you need jeans while living in the buff? #JustSaying

Over the years, I’ve often dreamed of designing my own denim. Imagine the possibilities?! A pair of jeans accentuating the positive and carefully concealing the negative. Frankly, it’s never been a possibility — until now.

Enter: CAVEAT, a place where you don’t just “find” the perfect pair of jeans, you “create” them. It’s called #TheCAVEATexperience

It’s an approach from days gone by mixed with modern technology. It involves personal attention built around a quality product; something we’ve lost sight of in a retail world driven by medicinal on-line shopping.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like shopping in my pajamas with a vodka and soda, but sometimes you just need to touch, try and mull over a purchase in person and that’s where CAVEAT comes in.

The denim destination is housed in a nondescript building in Wynwood; inside, it’s anything but. The open-air interior exudes modern day glamour with a chic retail space. Directly behind it, though, is where the real magic happens. A large wall of raw denim is flanked by a cutting-table and just beyond that is a glass wall, giving a clear view into the manufacturing room, where on-site tailors create your custom order.

And it’s your say all the way. After getting measured, you handpick your own denim and the details: stitching, buttons, hardware, even your own zipper.

Stacy Glover, who’s the brains behind the company, told me: “You shouldn’t have to worry about your jeans. It should be one less decision in your busy life.” He means it, too. Everyone at CAVEAT wears a t-shirt that reads #OneLessDecision ….

Before our interview, I confessed I tried on at least 5 pairs of jeans, trying to find something he’d approve of, as well as keeping my crack concealed. We both had a good laugh, but I’ve just never had that go-to pair of jeans and it’s really bothered me over the years.

When I ask Stacy what the biggest mistake is when it comes to wearing denim, the answer easily rolls off his tongue. “Not living in them long enough,” he says. When I ask him to expand, he shares what I believe to be the true Yoda secret of good denim: “You have to give them a chance, break them in, let them mold to the body and that doesn’t happen after just a few wears or seasons.”

I feel good about Stacy and CAVEAT, and I can’t always say that about fashion. I often wonder if certain boutiques and designers have the tenacity to make it. What I mean is: does the idea or concept have strength and longevity?

Anyone can open a business, but can they put their finger on the pulse of fashion? It’s a fickle fraternity that spits out the best of them. Jeans, though? It’s a staple, a sure thing, everyone has them. They’re just not all created like CAVEAT.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight at 7:00p.m. on Channel 7 as we go inside CAVEAT; showcasing their personalized experience. It’s interesting, unique and fun. Yes, fashion can still be fun, even satisfying, especially when “It’s in the Jeans” and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things. 👖

Where:

CAVEAT
448 NW 28th Street
Miami, Florida 33127

When:

Monday -Friday: 11am-7pm
Saturday: 12-6pm

www.caveatmiami.com

Be Social:
FB: @caveatmiami
IG: @caveatmiami
Twitter: @caveatmiami

I want to die with my blue jeans on.Andy Warhol

Natural Woman

Creating at Caveat #annieSS

James Woodley Photography
Styling: CAVEAT & Shireen Sandoval
Denim provided by CAVEAT
Tops & boots by Zara
Make-up: Tabitha Rey & Hair: Jess Stuver of www.zenzenorganicsalon.com
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Jean Genie” Auerbach

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

Natural Woman

What:

Exploring the beautiful new apparel + home store OAK, which stands for one-of-a-kind.

Why:

Airy, soft and welcoming: OAK is the kind of boutique you can get lost in. It reminds me of a store you’d find in California (say, Malibu), mixed with a hint of Southwest mysticism. I love everything about it; it speaks to all of my girlie senses. From beautiful pillows, pots and dried flowers to casual cool t-shirts, jeans, jumpers and jewelry, there’s something for every kind of fashionista.

The new apparel + home hot spot, snuggled into the heart of Coral Gables, is the brainchild of Kelly Nelson and Nicolle Mailal, who just happen to be first cousins.

The two have an easy way about them; you can tell they’re very close. Kelly procures the home decor pieces and Nicolle hand picks the fashion. Although both were raised in Miami, the duo has traveled extensively, taking their love for different parts of the world and infusing it into their new store.

It’s different than anything I’ve seen in South Florida before and I really like the premise of one-stop-shopping. I’m a busy person and making stop after stop to shop just doesn’t suit my lifestyle. Not only can I get an entire outfit with accessories at OAK, I can also find unique touches for my personal space.

The natural textures of the home goods and the ease of the clothing is a direct reflection of what’s going on in fashion right now. People want less fuss, more quality and of course, individuality or what I like to call living as a “Natural Woman”. With that being said, everything at OAK truly is One-of-a-Kind.

For fall, a bold jacket is emerging as a major trend as well as high-waisted jeans and the all-important body suit. In the tropics, you can never go wrong with a wide-legged jumper, perfect for any occasion.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight at 7:30 & 11:30pm, as we go inside OAK to show off what “effortless style meets casual comfort” looks like, because being a “Natural Woman” is one of my Favorite Things.

Where:

OAK apparel & home
116 Valencia Avenue
Coral Gables 33134

When:

Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

www.shopoakonline.com/

Be Social:
IG: @oak__miami
FB: @OAKMiami

You are already what you are looking for.anonymous

Natural Woman

OAK by #annieSS

James Woodley Photography
Styling: Nicolle Mailal
wardrobe, accessories & home goods provided by OAK apparel + home
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “One-of-a-Kind” Auerbach

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece

What:

Building a couture wardrobe the best way a fashionista can: “Piece by Piece” — mixing and matching tops and bottoms by one of the most inspiring young fashion designers in the Magic City.

Why:

Tucked away inside Aventura’s industrial warehouse district, designer Michelle Meler is building her fashion empire with quiet resilience. When I ask what sets her apart from other designers in Miami, she doesn’t hesitate: “You have to have a great concept.”

And she does.

With seven tops and five bottoms, she guarantees you can build up to 70-plus looks with her line. She got the idea after exhausting her entire wardrobe getting ready for a night out on the town. “I tried on everything I owned and that was it. I had nothing to wear.”

Her wheels started turning as she wondered why cocktail attire was such a one-time event. “Who designed it that way?”, she asked me curiously. Meler, who is in her 20’s, fully understands society’s insatiable need for the perfect selfie or the everyday social media pic: “showing casing” or, as Fergie would call it, “The Fabulous Life.” I even do it with my television #OOTD.

Armed with a need for versatility, the one-time architecture student, who interned for a New York City fashion designer, decided to venture into haute couture clothing. Meler sketches beautifully, understands material, sews and chases originality; all characteristics of a budding artist. I like her style a lot. It oozes femininity, but not in an overly frilly kind of way. I see myself wearing her clothing, investing in them “Piece by Piece.”

“My designs are about movement, but also about being still,” she explains. I have an image of water as she pensively describes her designs. The ocean is textured with many different sides to it: interesting, peaceful, moody and never underestimated; an analogy that seems to fit her fashioning.

Clothing in versatile combinations isn’t Meler’s only talent; she also makes custom cocktail dresses and gowns AND they are to-die-for. Check out that purple number I’m wearing. Holy smokes. It screams old Hollywood. I can’t remember the last time I put on a dress of that caliber.

During our interview, Michelle is timid, but passionate. Something in her switches, though, when I ask what makes her designs stand out. “It’s about a moment, even if it’s simple. I always have in mind that moment when a woman first walks into a room: how does she feel, how do I feel looking at her…” she trails off.

Even though there are a lot of years between us, I fully grasp what she’s saying; I’m a woman, after all. I’ve had a lot of those moments: bad, mediocre, good and GREAT. I don’t want to sound trite, but the GREAT ones feel a helluva a lot better then the other adjectives on the list. That’s when I realize “Piece by Piece” isn’t just about what I’m wearing, it’s about what I’m feeling, too.

Don’t miss Deco Drive tonight on Channel 7 at 7:30pm & 11:30pm, as Michelle takes us inside her creative space and gives us an up-close look at her decadent designs.

In this day and age, it’s not just about that one “wow” look, it’s about working your wardrobe in more ways than one and that’s why “Piece by Piece” is one of my favorite things.

When:

Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Where:

www.michellemeler.com
or visit the showroom
1644 N.E. 205th Terrace
Miami, Florida
(use google maps for the best directions)

Be Social
IG: @michellemelerstudio
FB: @MichelleMelerStudio
Twitter: @MichelleMeler

Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.Donna Karan

Piece by Piece

Michelle Meler & Model by #annieSS

James Woodley Photography
Styling: Michelle Meler
wardrobe provided by Michelle Meler Studio
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Timid, but Passionate” Auerbach