A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Espanola Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

A Day on Española Way

 

 

 

What:

Spending the day doing what I do best: shopping, eating, dancing, snoozing and exploring one of Miami Beach’s most iconic streets: Española Way.

Why:

“I can’t think of a better way/to spend the day/than on Española Way.” Especially after its massive multi-million dollar renovation. Sure, it’s always been a popular thoroughfare and yes, it’s always been inspiring, but now, its bustling personality is even bigger and better than before.

The secret ingredient? The street is FINALLY closed to cars, making it pedestrian-only. Now, you can easily stroll down the middle of the road like a boss, fully absorbing everything that makes Española Way so special — the enchanting Mediterranean architecture, lively restaurants, eclectic shops and secret nooks and passageways that lead to beautiful boutique hotels.

The area, originally formed as an artist colony back in the 1920’s, reminds me of my beloved Santa Fe and while it’s not necessarily the Wild West, it does have an outspoken bohemian spirit mixed with a European flair I truly appreciate. It’s a place where everyone fits in — I emphasis this because I’ve noticed Miami’s recent penchant for pigeonholing people & places into categories: artsy, hipster, urban, nouveau riche; the list goes on…(for the record, I hate that and happen to live in an up-&-coming “seedy” area). #Whatevezzzz

In full disclosure, for years I’ve avoided “A Day On Española Way” because of its touristy reputation but now, the area is flourishing with local activities: yoga classes, salsa nights and free monthly events open to the public. My day there was such an amazing experience. I felt transported to another city; another country even. After a leisurely morning of getting reacquainted with the area, I decided to have lunch, too.

Lucky for me, Havana 1957 was eager to host. The Cuban restaurant, which happens to be a South Florida staple, is not only a true reflection of one of Miami’s richest cultures, it’s also a nod to Havana in its heyday and I’ll drink to that! Speaking of…

I’m crazy about their large selection of mouthwatering mojitos. I tried the Strawberry & Classic, but they also have interesting ones like Red Bull & Diet, perfect for the partier who needs a pick-me-up or for those of us constantly watching our waistline. My favorite appetizer is “Tostones Rellenos Havana 1957,” which are heartbreakingly good. You get an assortment of plantain cups stuffed with garlic shrimp, shredded roasted chicken, ropa vieja and ground beef. Sweet baby Jesus, these are #LIFE…

The Signature chicken, served with rice and plantains, is called Pollo Frita A La Cubana. It’s a crispy marinated half-chicken served in a yummy garlic and onion sauce. The pork is amazing, too. Lechon Asado, a slow roasted pork leg with Cuban mojo, is served with moro rice and yuca. If you prefer eating lighter, Havana 1957 also has a nice selection of salads, perfect for a hot summer day. I ended lunch with Guava Cheesecake. It was so good, I dreamed about it later that night. There I was, in a cloud of pillows eating that very dessert, taking gi-normous bites while trying to talk on live TV. LOL. I’m not sure what that was all about…

But I do know, rediscovering a place I’ve always loved is a magical feeling. It’s like reconnecting with an old friend, you know the in’s & out’s of the relationship, but years gone by have made them more textured, interesting and even better — that’s exactly how I feel about “A Day On Española Way” and that’s why it’s one of My Favorite Things.

www.visitespanolaway.com

FB: @OnEspanolaWay
IG: @OnEspanolaWay
Twitter: @OnEspanolaWay

www.havana1957.com FB: @Havana1957Restaurant IG: @havana1957 Twitter: @havana1957miami

An invitation to a beautiful street is an invitation to walk within a dream!Mehmet Murat Ildan
James Woodley Photography
1st look: Black Sundress by @BCBGsouthbeach
Sun Hat by Nordstrom.com
Black Fringe Purse @V73
Boots: oldgringoboots.com
turquoise jewelry from my New Mexico Collection
2nd look: Yellow & White Sundress & Hat Nordstrom.com
Lip clutch www.Chiffino.com
Under The Big Top Heels by Irregularchoice.com
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “NYC 1952” Auerbach

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

Shireen’s Spotlight: Racket

What:

Spending the afternoon at one of the chicest new bars in town: Racket. An intriguing double-bar concept from the team behind Foxhole Bar & Drunken Dragon.

Why:

I love a good hang-out, but finding the RIGHT one isn’t always easy. My requirements include: great drinks, interesting food and a hip/chic atmosphere. I’m just not one of those dark bar boozers: I like the light of day, visiting with friends, meeting interesting people and feeling like I’m a part of something special going on in the Magic City.

Enter: Racket — located in the heart of Wynwood.

I hung out there last weekend on a bright, sunny day and its massive open-air windows revealed a beautiful tiki-inspired bar/lounge called Atrium. The plush couches, low wooden stools and interesting art reminded me of something you’d see in a fashion magazine. Just beyond Atrium is Skylit Bar, where the mood is more industrial-meets-modern. When it comes to food & drink, each area has its own niche.

From Atrium, which specializes in tequila, rum and mezcal drinks, I tried the wonderfully whimsical “Pinky & the Bat” (made with Bacardi, St. Germain, fresh fruit and sweet syrup.) It’s as pretty as a picture, definitely an Instagram shot waiting to happen. Make sure you caption it #LivingMyBestLife cuz that popsicle gives it major prowess. The cool & colorful “El Joven” is just as sassy, not to mention refreshing. The mezcal-based cocktail is mixed with sweet Italian wine, watermelon and lime.

As the late Whitney Houston once famously said: “Crack is Whack” and that’s exactly how I’d describe Atrium’s Ahi Tuna Rolls. MAN – they’re fabulously addicting. Instead of a traditional roll, though, the tuna (made with Sriracha aioli) comes on top of a crispy brioche. The little heavenly bites of goodness are topped with caviar. #NeedSomeRightNow #GetInMyBelly And yes, we took a lot of pictures of them. Just call us the Tuna Roll paparazzi. 😹

Grazing is important when enjoying Atrium’s $18 dollar bottomless mimosas & Rose on Sundays and their beautiful Charcuterie spread is the perfect way to do it. Served with fig jam, olive bread, veggies, fruit and meats, you’ll have enough food to get your drink on for the entire day. Cheers to day drinking that extends into evening hours.

From Skylit, which specializes in craft cocktails and local beers, I tried the smokey and delicious “Here’s Johnnie” — made with Johnnie Walker Black, tawny port, blackberry syrup and creme de cassis. This drink, which happened to be my favorite, will definitely grow hair on your chest. That’s what we say back on the ranch when a drink is strong and meaty.

If you wanna feel like a movie star, try “Pine Wood” — a nod to Britain’s Hollywood. Not sure if it’s a coincidence, but it sure tastes like something you’d drink in England, made with bourbon, citrus fruit and Fernet Branca (which is a bitter herby liqueur.) If Bette Davis were still alive, she’d make it a double and call you “Dahhhhling” while puffing on a long, fancy cigarette.

I also tried the “Racket Panini” stacked with prosciutto, goat cheese, pesto and mushed into yummy submission. If you like PB&J, you gotta try their “AB & J” — made with almond butter, blueberry jam, brie cheese and served on brioche bread. It’s that great kind of salty sweet and goes perfect with an adult beverage.

If you like to be entertained while imbibing, you’re in luck. Skylit has a pool table, juke box and tv’s for your sport watching obsession.

I really like the vibe and atmosphere of Racket; the yummy drinks and food are a bonus. Usually Miami hang-out’s have one without the other, but here – it’s both. It’s a fresh take on what Miami’s known for, having a good time in glamorous style and that’s why it’s one of my Favorite Things.

Where:

Racket
150 NW 24th Street
Miami, Florida 33127

When:

Daily 1 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Happy hour is from 4-to-8pm

Be Social:
IG: @racketwynwood
FB: @racketwynwood
Twitter: @racketwynwood

Don’t be shy, send that 12th unanswered text.Tequila
James Woodley Photography
Wardrobe by @bcbgsouthbeach
Clutch — @candywooleyhandbags
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Dahhhling” Auerbach

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

Spring Fever

What:

Discovering & falling in love with Yara Bashoor’s handbags and styling them with looks inspired by Springtime in South Florida.

Why:

If you’re looking for a new bag to beautify your Spring wardrobe, look no further…

Designer Yara Bashoor isn’t just prettying up the Miami purse game with her gorgeous pieces; she’s also giving a girl on a fashion budget (that would be me) a chance to enjoy luxury for less. My 401k is rejoicing as I type this and I’m about to throw up an “amen” to the fashion gods — AMEN!

Using Alligator and South African Ostrich skins, she carefully curates bold, interesting and sophisticated clutches and totes. What I love most about her bags, besides the undeniable quality, is their decadent colors, textures and shapes.They remind me of that old-school board game, “Candy Land” – bright and mood-lifting. Better yet, they trigger childhood memories of rainbow-colored snow cones ready to be devoured on a hot summer day.

Instead of sticky fingers, though, Yara’s purses feel more like butter: soft, supple and sinfully expensive. Usually a bag of this caliber would cost you a kidney or your first-born. Luckily, Yara’s ingenuity has led her to cut out the middleman, leaving costs solely wrapped up in craftsmanship and that, of course, benefits her customers.

Besides being entrenched in South Florida’s fashion community, where Yara’s purses are featured at local events and in the occasional local/luxury magazine, she’s gained true “Spring Fever” footing on social media and by word-of-mouth, which is how I found her.

There’s something else, too.

Yara is the kind of woman I straight-up admire. She’s an architect, lawyer and designer (yes, in that order, but who’s keeping track when you’re that successful.) I don’t think it’s a coincidence that her purses are a direct reflection of her chosen education and career path: structured lines, effortless durability and chic sophistication. Could she be any more fabulous?

While Yara describes her totes as “smart, stylish and confident,” you can’t help but notice she’s actually describing herself, and that’s why “Spring Fever” is one of my Favorite Things.

Be Social:
FB: @ybhandbags
IG: @yara.bashoor

Shop “The Joey L Clutch” or “The Adam L Tote” here: www.yarabashoor.com

A tax rebate is pretty much the government telling me – I must buy this bag!Randy Miller
James Woodley Photography
Purses designed by Yara Bashoor
Wardrobe: @bcbgsouthbeach
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Butter” Auerbach

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

Slay in Herve … because it’s the best way to end a fashionable year

What:

Wrapping up 2017 wearing one of my Favorite Things: HERVE LEGER. Plus, a little jibber-jabber about hopes, dreams and fancy things in 2018.

Why:

Ahh, romance & glamour…

Nothing used to say “New Year’s Eve” to me like a fabulous dress, a festive party and a fantastic man. Think the popular 80’s movie: “When Harry Met Sally”… More specifically, that famous last scene in the film when Harry & Sally realize they’re freaking nuts about each other.

It starts out with a hurried Harry pushing his way through a crowded New Year’s Eve party trying to find a heartbroken Sally. He’s in street clothes, she, of course, is in a gorgeous off-the-shoulder dark blue cocktail dress, looking every inch the fashion goddess.

Despite being broken up for months, the “meant to be” couple finally comes face-to-face on one of the most iconic nights of the year.

And, while their chemistry is ELECTRIC and their love PALPABLE, their happily-ever-after hangs delicately in the balance. (Get me a tissue!)

Then…

Harry proceeds to tell Sally she’s the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. He adds sweetly: “I love you.” “What?” She says perplexed. “I love you,” he says emphatically.

Sally doesn’t believe Harry (because, well, most of the time men suck,) so she explains: “It doesn’t work that way! You can’t just barge back into my life expecting to pick up where we left off, because it’s New Year’s Eve and you feel lonely.”

Just as the traditional countdown begins, Harry tells Sally he doesn’t love her because he’s lonely, he loves her because of her special idiosyncrasies; like how she gets cold when it’s 71 degrees, how her face wrinkles up just above her nose when he says something annoying and how it takes Sally an hour or so just to order a simple sandwich.

“Auld Lang Syne” starts playing in the background and Sally cries: “I hate you, Harry,” but of course, she doesn’t really hate him, she LOVES him, they love one another. As they embrace and fall into a passionate kiss, the camera zooms out revealing the landscape of the party: the balloons, the confetti and dozens of couples dancing… Happy New Year!! 🎉

OMG! Be still, my besotted heart. 💝

Not only is that scene major movie magic, it’s something I’ve tried recreating for the better part of my adult life. The dress, the party, the man, the romance of it all and the trappings I assumed came along with it.

LUCKILY, somewhere along the way, life grabbed me by the shoulders and shook the hopeless romantic out of me. I know, I know, it sounds kind of morose, but actually, it was more like divine intervention.

Hollywood happiness isn’t just fleeting, it’s not even humanly possible. In fact, it’s a fool’s set-up for complete and utter disappointment. And while I’m at it, so is all the “politically correct” love rhetoric floating around in today’s society.

I don’t like ad campaigns, movies, social media, fairytales, religion, race or even my parents telling me how to love, who to love and what I should be wearing while I’m doing it.

You see, I tried all that on for size and it didn’t fit. In fact, it was suffocatingly small for what life really had in store for me. Two divorces and a lot of emotional baggage later…

I realized…

Life is ridiculously messy and heartbreaking and more often than not, it doesn’t come with witty Billy Crystal dialogue, good movie lighting and a perfect wardrobe (believe me, some of my early New Year’s Eve outfits were real doozies.)

Eventually, that dress, that man, that party, it all changes. The focus appropriately shifts to the woman you’re becoming, how the man treats you (with loving actions, not gilded words) and just as important, it’s about who you choose to surround yourself with (even when at a party.) We are, after all, the company we keep.

As New Years pass, I’ve had a lot of time to think about “When Harry Met Sally” and exactly what I was trying to extract from the last scene of the movie. And…

The answer is still somewhat elusive because it’s not necessarily tangible. Instead, it’s this incredible *feeling* that washes over me when I watch it. One of warmth, hope, dreams and desires…

Which is impossible to find during an hour and thirty six minutes of cinematic romance. It simply takes a lifetime of mistakes: highs, lows, self-tolerance, growth and trusting yourself to find out exactly WHAT it is that YOU need and what YOU want and no one else.

And while I still love a fabulous dress, a festive party and a fantastic man, I’ve learned to go about it the right way — MY WAY — because we all deserve our own #HappilyEverAfter even if it’s not something Hollywood would ever write about and that’s why “Slay in Herve” is one of my Favorite Things.

Where:

Herve Leger inside BCBG South Beach
Lincoln Road Mall
Miami, Florida 33139

(On the corner of Lincoln and Meridian.)

When:

Monday-Wednesday: 10am-10pm
Thursday-Saturday: 10am-12am
Sunday: 11am-11pm

Be Social:
IG:@bcbgsouthbeach
Twitter: @HerveLeger

www.herveleger.com & www.bcbg.com

Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different…C.S. Lewis

A special thank you to BCBG South Beach & Herve Leger for supporting my ambitious fashion writing and television career everyday of the year.

This blog is dedicated to Jackie Kay.

James Woodley Photography
Dresses by Herve Leger, South Beach
& Jewelry by BCBG South Beach
Styling: Marina, Shireen & Jackie Kay
Make-up: Tabitha Rey & Hair: Jess Stuver of www.zenzenorganicsalon.com
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “I’m Not Harry” Auerbach

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