Monthly Archives: June 2010

2010 Summer Solstice, Miami Beach

Ocean View, Miami Beach

Those who know me well know that I’m more often than not on the pasty side, though not for lack of access to the vast expanse of ocean and sand that dominates this destination city. I simply prefer my olive skin untanned, much to the chagrin of, well, most of the people who see me on a daily basis. But in honor of the first day of summer (and my – most rare – sunkissed complexion), I’m publicly admitting I actually really enjoyed myself at the beach very recently.

What was only a 2 day getaway felt more like a true vacation as Tony and I were able to enjoy a weekend stay in one of the Alexander’s 121 individual suites. This was my first experience at the property, outside of having dinner at Shula’s Steak House, and it made me sorry I hadn’t visited before. Though the oceanfront resort is moderate in size when compared to some of its more, ahem, extravagant neighbors, the property offers a welcoming intimacy that allows one the indulgence of forgetting the rest of the city and making the day’s choices as simple as which of the 2 pools to take a dip in and whether to have a pina colada now or later. Speaking of which, I believe that’s how I lost track of time and ended up with a tan to make any fake-n-baker orange with envy. (For my close friends, find proof of said tan below.*)

Beach View at the Alexander HotelBay View at the Alexander Hotel Suite at the Alexander Hotel, Miami BeachHaving a frozen drink at the Top of the Falls bar

Enjoying the waterCollection of Shells Beach view at nightLightning on the Beach

Balcony View at the Alexander Hotel

*Note: All pics were shot and edited by my hubby, except for the one of the really cool lightening storm that took me 15 tries and one numb right leg to capture.

57 Years and counting…

I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate my grandparents on celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary. Though they’ve taught me countless lessons on how to live an honest and fulfilling life, the one lesson that’s always resonated above all others is knowing how to love. I’ve been blessed to have these role models in my life. Here’s to 57 brilliant years together…and to 57 more.

Jose Alberto & Luz Sofia Palma (My Grandparents) The Abuelos at my wedding in November 2009

Accent Alternative Art Space

 The Great Escape by Julio Figueroa

In a city where the art scene has had a bit of a slow progression, it’s refreshing and reassuring to see a non-profit gallery get so much attention and support from the local community. Last night marked the official opening of Accent Alternative Art Space, a not-for-profit art gallery created by full-service Hispanic advertising agency Accentmarketing. The venue will feature emerging artists’ work at no cost to them. Last night’s exhibit, Killing and Salting, was a group show curated by Rafael Lopez, showcasing seven local Cuban-American artists’ works centering around a theme of bi-cultural experiences unique to Miami. I snapped a few shots of my favorites, but you can catch the full lot by Miguel Angel Báez, Julio Figueroa Beltrán, Pablo Lazo, Juan Carlos Mirabel, Vicente Valdez Torres, María Valero and Carlos F. Wolff at 4841 SW 75th Avenue.

Sweet Tooth

Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe

There’s got to be something inherently wrong with me. It’s the only way to explain why I’ve been home from the dentist for only two hours, my mouth is swollen and numb with four generous shots of novacaine (hey, I’m terrified of the drill, ok?), and all I’ve been able to think about for the past three hours is how I can’t have any solid food. To be more precise, I’m craving a cupcake. And not the plain vanilla or chocolate kind you can pick up at any grocery store. I want the real deal – Red Velvet from Sweetness Bake Shop on Sunset and 95th Avenue. Or maybe Maple Bacon, which actually tastes like breakfast heaven in every bite. Or the one with the Key Lime Pie baked in the middle… Mmm…

This place is 2 minutes away from my house but  I just recently discovered their unique cupcake menu on Sunday during an afternoon junk food run with my hubby. I’d actually been there a few weeks before to purchase a box full of their daily variety (16 to be exact) for Frenchy’s Bachelorette Sleepover. I never actually got to taste them, however, seeing as to how a box of cupcakes in a room full of girls stands absolutely no chance. So Tony and I decided to drop in and inevitably brought home a small box that didn’t last past Monday afternoon. If you haven’t been there yet, I recommend checking out their site for the daily menu and indulging at least once in their rendition of the Guayabera – good enough to make Abuela proud (and that toothache completely worth it).

P.S. If you’re a fan of True Blood, check out their themed cupcakes on June 13th just in time for the season 3 premier.

Frenchy & Damien’s Wedding: June 5, 2010

I rarely find myself at a loss for words. Blame it on my need to verbalize every single little thing or simply on my Cuban nature, there’s rarely an occasion when I am hard-pressed to voice my opinion. Which is why I was surprised to find myself overcome with emotion on Saturday night, sobbing like a toddler, wiping away tears with a shared tissue that kept being passed down a row of six weepy bridesmaids and one emotionally distraught maid of honor. By this point in the night, the couple’s outdoor ceremony had been drenched in an intense summer evening shower just minutes before it was time to walk down the aisle. So after much deliberation (and several glasses of champagne), we stood, along with approximately 200 other guests, inside a small ballroom, seeking refuge from the rain, witnessing the marriage of our friends as they still beamed at each other, making the absolute best of what could have easily been a deterrent for any other bride and groom, and exchanged vows under exactly the right circumstances.

The rest of the evening was absolutely perfect. I can’t really do it justice in words (hard to describe how a fuschia wig fits into a wedding), so I’ve included some images below. Congratulations to Frenchy & Damien. May they always be able to weather any storm.




Event Design & Wedding Planning: Biltmore Event Design (BED) , Jackie Ohh… Events

Photography: Rodrigo Varela Wedding & Event Photographer

Flowers & Centerpieces: Avant-Gardens

Cake: Todo Dulces

Frenchy & Damien’s Wedding: Special Projects

Along with the beginning of June and another sweltering Miami summer comes the official countdown to the wedding of Francesca & Damien, two of my favorite people and dearest friends. I’m at the bride’s beck and call this week, and it feels great to be back on a busy schedule. Having been a bride not too long ago (we just passed the 6 month mark), it’s been a nice change of pace to serve as a bridesmaid and take on a few of the creative projects ranging from conceptualizing bridal shower invitations* and favors, assembling and addressing wedding invitations, and just today, getting a good start on the board for the place settings. This wedding is full of innovative concepts, which isn’t surprising given the bride is an experienced wedding planner and is working with one of the best in the biz, Bruce Barbaree of Biltmore Event Design (BED). I’ve included some pics** of our progress below and will be posting more as the week progresses. Four days to go. Enjoy! 

Bridal Shower Invitation Recipe Card & Invitation Bridal Shower Cupcake Favor

Wedding Invitation Envelope - Calligraphy Wedding Invitation Place Settings Chalkboard Place Settings Chalkboard - First Column

*Many thanks to my hubby, Tony Espinoza, for his design expertise.

**Apologies for some of the rough images from my phone.