A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

A Fashionable Change

What:

A day at the beach with Solea Cangas and figuring out what I really want Shireen’s Favorite Things to be.

Why:

You may not know this, but when I first started the blog it was a way for me to express the pain and hurt of some devastating things that happened in my life: the loss of a baby, a major illness and the break-up of my marriage. It was some heavy stuff and I wasn’t exactly parading around South Florida in stylish trends. I was just trying to keep my head above water. Actually, if I’m being totally honest, I was a complete disaster. The writing/blogging helped with my grieving process and sharing my stories eventually healed me. At least to the point where I felt I was OKAY…

After the s*** storm hit. Because frankly, there’s no other to describe it…

The blog took on a more “stylish” turn. I felt guilty about it for awhile, mainly because my more serious storytelling had developed a strong online following. Taking a lighter, less “important” direction felt like a complete sell-out. It wasn’t, though; I promise you. Instead, it was a way of giving myself permission to leave my deep sadness and the morose introspection that always followed it behind.

When I first started the blog as it’s known now: “Shireen’s Favorite Things”…

I got A LOT of push back. Career-based fashion bloggers turned up their noses at me, my television co-horts didn’t understand it and key people around me (who pretended to care) just wanted to capitalize on it. What’s more, some readers didn’t want the “happy” me; perhaps the “sad” me was more relatable. In the meantime, all I wanted to do was write, tell stories, find creativity, inspiration and hopefully give birth to the new person I wanted, needed and hoped I could be.

The first year of ‘Favorite Things’ (everyone involved) worked like gangbusters. We gave up everything — especially our free time. It was hard at first, but we grew accustomed to it, then we got better at it and learned not to sacrifice what everyone needed: a break (even fashion has seasons for a reason.) As the years passed and the blog grew in popularity, Deco Drive got involved and WSVN supported my stylish storytelling like a proud mother, giving me creative liberties, cheering on my original content and awarding me an on-air fashion segment to run in tandem with the online blog.

Since then…

I’ve tackled almost every topic: movies, celebrities, famous and local fashion designers, seasonal, solo and eccentric trends, boutiques, interesting South Florida places and eventually, food (which happens to be an incredibly popular part of the blog now called: Shireen’s Spotlight.)

During the thick of it, I’d always ask myself: Do people care? Are they reading? Are they clicking onto something that’s enriching their lives? Is it enriching mine? And — what’s the ultimate outcome?” I didn’t know the answers beyond what the analytics were telling me. What I did know was…

When I pressed those closest to me (like my own mother,) most hadn’t even read the blog; including people who were working on it. “I haven’t read it, but I do love the pictures,” was the typical response I’d get. Still, I pushed on.

I’m not stupid. I mean, I get we’re living in a phone-driven, photo-taking, time-pressed society. Easy immediacy is the name of the game. Plus, I’m at THAT age — the one where you do things for yourself and not other people. Writing, blogging, exploring, reporting, traveling, working weekends, eating a lot of food. I did it for myself and it’s been enough — until now.

Over the holidays, I took a long break from blogging. I needed it because I felt tired and uninspired and it was gnawing at me. WHY? Why had something I loved so much changed? Most of us hate change and I’m one of those people. I like a good challenge, but when feelings and emotions start twisting and turning inside me, I panic because I know it’s time to re-evaluate and get real with myself.

At first, though, I ignore it for as long as humanly possible, but eventually, it spills over into everything I say and do, followed by long bouts of anxiety, crying jags and unhappiness. It’s almost as if my inside emotions are forcing me to change my outward path and begrudgingly, I HAVE to do it.

So, here we are — at the edge of the cliff of change — about to jump (and thank you if you’re actually reading this and not just looking at the pictures, especially Matty, because he has to and Jackie, because she’s my biggest cheerleader.)

From now on, I’ll be featuring things on the blog that evoke a special kind of emotion out of me: mainly, HAPPINESS. Like the very thing highlighted today — soleacangas.com — a company inspired by the ocean, uplifted by art and started by strong, entrepreneurial women. It’s a wrap-slash-beach blanket, with yummy lightweight material. The idea hails from the beaches of Rio, one of my favorite places on earth.

As I continue reinventing myself and Favorite Things…

I want more simplicity, as in less explaining. Yes, I’m caving, while a lot of people don’t have time to sit down and read, imagine what it’s like finding time to write pages upon pages of heartfelt fashion stories (especially with another full-time uber-demanding job.)

Not everything I focus on from here-on-out will be featured on TV. Not only can an aggressive deadline squash my creativity, but it takes away from the original “je ne sais quoi” of the blog.

I hope my new direction leaves you feeling good, inspired and yes, even happy after checking out the blog. It’s the least I can do for my faithful followers because YOU are one of my Favorite Things.

Be Social
IG: @soleacangas
FB: @soleacangas
soleacangas.com

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move into it, and join the dance.Alan W. Watts
James Woodley Photography
Outfit by @forever21
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “I Like This Job” Auerbach

My Top 10 Favorite Food Joints of the Year

Shireen’s Spotlight: Gianni’s At The Villa

10. The opulence at “Gianni’s at the Villa

Shireen’s Spotlight: Cafe Roval

9. The gardens of “Cafe Roval

8. The spirit & margaritas of “Cantina La Veinte

Shireen’s Spotlight: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

7. The family atmosphere of “Louie Bossie’s Ristorante

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

6. The art, music, food and people of “R House, Wynwood

Shireen’s Spotlight: Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill

5. The incredible South African food of ‘Big Easy Wine Bar and Grill

Shireen’s Spotlight: Bar Meli69 Greek Bistro & Wine Bar

4. The neighborhood comfort & glorious Greek wine of “BarMeli 69

Shireen’s Spotlight: Naked Crab

3. The to-die-for seafood of “Naked Crab

Shireen’s Spotlight: Valentino Cucina Italiana

2. The glamour & exquisite food of “Valentino Cucina Italiana

Shireen’s Spotlight: Phuc Yea

1. The original, creative and place I frequent most “Phuc Yea
Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!Dom Perignon
James Woodley Photography
Naked Crab photographed by Carl-Frederick Francois
Styling: Jackie Kay
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew Auerbach

(***ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ON PHOTOS***)

My Top 10 Favorite Looks Of The Year

The Right Kind of Ruffle

10. Cool as a summer breeze in ‘Etxart & Panno’ from the blog: “The Right Kind of Ruffle

A Christmas Clutch

9. Purse infatuation with ‘The Limelight Collection’ & ‘Vchic Boutique’ — from the blog: “A Christmas Clutch

My New Miami Vice

8. Summer sizzle in ‘Ann Taylor’ from the blog: “My New Miami Vice

Topping It Off for 2018!

7. Fetching in a ‘Feather Heart Designs by Danielle’ fascinator — from the blog: “Topping It Off for 2018

’Tis the Sequin…

6. Sitting down on the job in ‘VChic Boutique’ — from the festive party blog: “Tis The Sequin

Fit & Flare

5. Going high fashion on Lincoln Road in ‘Herve Leger’ — from the spring blog: “Fit & Flare

Piece by Piece

4. Inspired in this drop dead gorgeous ‘Michelle Meler’ gown — featured in the blog: “Piece by Piece

Wild Things

3. Mysterious in ‘MaryJane Claverol Accessories’ & a ‘BCBG South Beach’ dress — from the blog: “Wild Things

Spring Romance

2. Lady in Red wearing ‘Extart & Panno’ — from the blog: “Spring Romance

The Park

1. Inspired by Belle from the reimagining of “Beauty and the Beast” wearing ‘LA Boudoir Miami’ — from the fashion photo series “The Park
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be Social:
IG: @ShireenSandoval
FB: @ShireenSandoval
Twitter: @ShireenSandoval

Photos by James Woodley Photography
Photo #3 by Danielle Margherite www.dmargherite.com/

Main Styling: Jackie Kay & Shireen Sandoval
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew Auerbach

(***ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ON PHOTOS***)

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

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood. Shireen Sandoval food blog, Miami Florida. South Florida's best restaurants reviewed by Shireen Sandoval from Deco Drive TV. Shireen covers fashion and food on her popular lifestyle blog called: Shireen's Favorite Things.

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood. Shireen Sandoval food blog, Miami Florida. South Florida's best restaurants reviewed by Shireen Sandoval from Deco Drive TV. Shireen covers fashion and food on her popular lifestyle blog called: Shireen's Favorite Things. Here Shireen's tasting an Old Fashioned and a Moscow Mule while showcasing her emoji purse and melted doughnut phone case.

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood. Shireen Sandoval food blog, Miami Florida. South Florida's best restaurants reviewed by Shireen Sandoval from Deco Drive TV. Shireen covers fashion and food on her popular lifestyle blog called: Shireen's Favorite Things. Here Shireen's tasting the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and sipping on a pink Japanese Lemonade and a Culantro Martini while showcasing her emoji kiss purse. This photograph was taken by James Woodley, who also takes photos for Deco Drive TV.

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood. Shireen Sandoval's food blog is called Shireen's Spotlight. Here she's tasting yummy meatballs and sopping up sweet marinara sauce with perfectly toasted bread. Shireen's Favorite Things.

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

Shireen’s Spotlight: R House Wynwood

What:

Friday night dinner at “R House Wynwood,” one of the coolest, most dynamic restaurants in the Magic City. It also happens to be the perfect place to celebrate Art Basel 2017, because no one should “baaaasel” on an empty stomach.

Why:

Magnetic, inspired and original: “R House” is more than just a restaurant, it’s an experience.

Sitting loud and proud in the center of Wynwood, it’s a place that beckons you from the street and quietly seduces the senses once inside. It’s not just about breaking bread, either (although the bread is to die for)…

Instead, it’s a seamless mix of art, food and music with a sexy attitude woven in-between, which coincidentally mirrors the characteristics of the Magic City, especially this week as Art Basel bares down on our majestic mecca.

From South Beach, Midtown, Mimo to Wynwood, there are a lot of different places to celebrate, but “R House” has that *thing* everyone seems to be looking for during one of the biggest art fairs in the world.

I don’t mean to sound elusive when I use the word “thing” — but art is subjective and personal, making it almost impossible to define in a food blog. It is, however, something that can make you feel good, which is a beautiful thing considering the climate of the world we live in and “R House” does just that: makes you feel good.

The restaurant, which features all kinds of gorgeous artwork you can buy while filling your belly, is the brainchild of Chef Rocco Carulli. Although he credits a lot of people around him for his success, it’s Rocco himself who willed “R House” into existence.

When I met him last Friday night, he lit up like a Christmas tree recounting how he left his restaurant up north to give this city a go. It wasn’t easy, either, and at the time, Wynwood wasn’t exactly the hot bed it is now. Despite all the idiosyncrasies of the food and real estate business in Miami, he built his eclectic vision and never looked back.

The food at “R House” is described as “rustic Southern Italian complemented by modern farm-to-table American dishes.” While that’s accurate, it’s also delicious and high-quality. Chef Rocco knows his stuff and he does it with the ease and grace of a food ninja. When his cuisine saturates your tastebuds, you don’t know what hit you, but you know you want MORE.

Oh, and did I mention the liquor? Using top shelf spirits like Skyy Vodka, a lot of the cocktails are infused with delicious fruits and other fresh ingredients, making even Wild Turkey easy to swallow (I’ll get to that in minute) but first…

I started #Spotlight with the strawberry-muddled “Japanese Lemonade” made with sake. Who doesn’t like fresh and fruity? Plus, I’m a sucker for anything pretty & pink. The cool as a cucumber “Culantro Martini” (made with cucumber-infused vodka and elderflower liqueur) has a delicious cilantro flair.

While I love drinks with originality, I like the classics, too. Especially Old Fashioned’s & Moscow Mules. “R House” has original takes on both. With strawberry-infused vodka, homemade ginger beer and muddled strawberries, their mule is magnificent. The “R Old Fashioned” (which comes with straight bourbon whiskey or rye whiskey) is mixed with raw brown sugar, aromatic bitters, orange zest and garnished with an Italian cherry. It’s mind-boggling-ly smooth. (Warning: your mind WILL boggle with two.)

From the Sharing Plates part of the menu, I inhaled the “Yellowfin Tuna Tartare” (made with avocado, sweet chili sauce, wasabi cream and wonton chips.) It’s a MUST-TRY. The “Beet Arugula Pesto Salad” is healthy and yummy with goat cheese and spicy candy pecans.

Just call me ‘Meatball Sandoval’ after trying the “Grass-Fed Brisket and Short Rib Meatballs” — I could eat them everyday for the rest of my natural born life. Hmmm…I sopped up Chef Rocco’s heirloom tomato marinara with perfectly baked bread. If you happen to be a fan of tiger prawns, the “Gamberetti Marinara” is terrific and boasts a chili flake kick. BTW, all prawns are NOT created equally; while gi-normous, these are also tender and tasty.

Before my main course, my server (who was the perfect mix of interesting and knowledgeable) suggested the drink most people can’t get enough of. He actually called it the “Happy Hour Destroyer”… I laughed out loud at its bequeathed title, but he insisted it was true. “Women love them and before you know it they’ve had one, two, three.. we have to cut them off” he explained. Well then, by all means…

The Happy Hour Destroyer is actually called: “Berry Bourbon” (made with Berry-infused Wild Turkey bourbon, berry puree and lime juice.) WOW. I get it now. I’m a total convert and I’m not exactly a Wild Turkey kind of woman. I can change my ways, though. Lol. Next…

I tried “Braised Lamb Shanks” from the Main part of the menu (made with a porcini mushroom-coriander-cinnamon rub and served on a bed of arugula pesto Israeli couscous.) The meat fell off the bone and the couscous was the perfect texture, not too hard; not too soft. Hmmm…

I’ve never had “Zeppole” but Chef Rocco changed that; serving his delicious Italian doughnuts smothered in powdered sugar. They come in a medium sized brown bag — shake and pour. I tried raspberry and chocolate. Who doesn’t love little round balls of fried dough? It’s heaven in a nondescript sack.

Food, art and music are some of the best things in life and when they merge together under one roof, it’s like Art Basel all year long and that’s why “R House” is one of my Favorite Things. Cheers! And, Happy Basel-ing.

Where:

R House Wynwood
2727 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127

When:

Wednesday – Thursday: 3pm-10pm
Friday 3pm-3am, Saturday 12pm-3am & Sunday 11:30am-9pm

PS-they also have an amazing brunch that’s a real ‘DRAG’ — check-out their website for all the showstopping details.

www.rhousewynwood.com
reservations: 305-576-0201
email: info@rhousewynwood.com

Be Social
IG: @rhousewynwood
FB: @rhousewynwood
Twitter: @rhousewynwood

Nothing lasts forever. So live it up, drink it down, laugh it off, avoid the drama, take chances and never have regrets because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted.Marilyn Monroe
James Woodley Photography
Styling: Jackie Kay
Wardrobe: @HauteGlamBoutique
Emoji Clutch: A gift from @jackieKstyling
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew Auerbach