A weekend in Miami

April 29th, 2009

While I enjoy the week -which usually flies by in a quick flurry after work by sneaking away to happy hour with a friend or even a fun event - it's weekends that are truly my favorite time. And this past one was busier than most.

Friday afternoon I was invited to a Big Brothers and Big Sisters Miracle Makers luncheon and auction which included an Oscar de la Renta fashion show. Being the ultimate fashionista, I headed on over to the Eden Roc early enough to find parking and avoid the valet drama (too many cars, too little spots) and snuck inside to mingle amongst Miami socialites (you know, the type who wear a gown and perfect makeup at noon while discussing their latest purchase or yacht trip) for an early afternoon glass of bubbly, cheese bites and a peek at the auction. Up for grabs was an Olympia Gym fitness pass and even handbags from Juicy Couture and Yves Saint Laurent. Fabulous!

Once everyone was seated, they were treated to a runway show of the Oscar de la Renta fall collection, which can be found at the store in Bal Harbour Shops. While most of the frocks are way over my budget, I did find myself pining for an array of jewel-toned cocktail dresses and gowns, many in deep blues, bright reds and classic black. There was also a red leather motorcycle jacket that caught my eye, as well as a new trend which will probably be knocked-off all over Forever 21 shoe racks - gold-studded knee length boots. While the look might sound gaudy for most, it definitely looks polished when paired with classic and elegant outfits.

After the fashion show I headed over to Salon Vaso on Alton Road for one of their famous $20 blowouts and $40 mani-pedi combos. The homey salon is the perfect spot to relax before the weekend. Afraid you won't catch the deal anytime soon? It's ok, they're valid until Labor Day weekend! Being able to score cheap blowouts until September? I'll be back, Vaso.

Saturday was a perfect afternoon for tapas and wine, so I decided to take advantage of the good weather and check out dinner at Maya Tapas and Grill on Lincoln Road with my husband. Weary after an afternoon running errands, we were definitely thankful for a glass of sangria and delicious cheese platter. Feel like sharing with friends? Go by and enjoy a huge $40 pitcher of sangria, perfect for a group.

Speaking of wine, Sunday was time to partake in the Wine Challenge at Smith and Wollensky. There, locals were sipping on around 80 bottles of red, white, sparkling and blush wines to decide which were tops in the restaurant's extensive wine list. Those who decided to stick around for dinner could pick two bottles - each - and sip on them while nibbling on the restaurant's delish choice of steaks and seafood.

Plenty of fun here in Miami, but for now it's time for laundry - and a nap!


Have relaxation your way

April 22nd, 2009

For those who follow my columns, my blogs and read on a daily basis (I hope that’s a lot of you out there, by the way) it might be kind of obvious that I am in love with champagne, cocktails of any sort, shopping deals and spas. This past week, I was feeling lucky once again when I was invited to media events at two top-notch yet totally different spas: Agua at the Mondrian and Lapis at the Fontainebleau.

These two spots are proof that in Miami you can have anything catered your way - even relaxation.

Step inside Agua and you’ll be greeted by cool white colors and a gleaming mirrored desk area. For the South Beach-loving crowd, Agua proves an escape from thumping music and too many nights spent past your bedtime. Once you are whisked away through the intimate maze-like enviroment and into one of their treatment rooms for a 30-minute target massage or pedi on one of their white royalty-suited princess type chairs, it’ll feel just like heaven.

Lapis at the Fontainebleau is a different style, but definitely suited for the divas and gents that like their spa Vegas-style. The large spa offers a private pool area where attendees are urged to check out a “Lapis Ritual Water Journey” of their choice before treatment which could include anything from a dip into their immersion mineral water jet bath or a run into their elements rain tunnel, a room where water falls from the ceiling like your own private rain shower. Don’t expect a lot of peace and quiet in the large enviroment until you get to the second floor treatment rooms – all lit in red– since the spot is usually packed with tourists from all around the world, many sharing stories out loud while sipping tea. But do expect a massage, which will get all those tight spots unknotted.

Need a deal? Check out Spa Fancy every week in the shopping channel. For now, call up Agua at the Mondrian and mention’s recent story and get 20 percent off any treatment of your choice.

- Aurora Rodriguez

Fall Out Boy rocks and rolls into South Florida

April 20th, 2009

Emo rockers rejoice, because Fall Out Boy’s “Believers Never Die Part 2” tour is rolling into Pompano Beach Amphitheater Tuesday, April 21 and it promises to be one heck of a pop punk trip.

Fall Out Boy – joined by West Palm Beach local band Hey Monday and dance floor anthem-happy Metro Station – will be storming the stage to promote hits from their new record “Folie a Deux”, resulting in a music event which will surely leave the crowd satisfied.

The band’s drummer, Andrew Hurley, took a moment to chat with us about what fans can expect from the show and the band’s thoughts on Miami.

What are your thoughts on Miami?
We've been to Miami, but it sucks because whenever we're there it's inside the venue and the hotel. I wish we had more time to explore. And I was there for the VMA's a few years ago at the American Airlines Arena and I was acting pretty crazy. I was able to check out the outdoor shopping and restaurant area by there and it was pretty cool (Bayside). It feels like Miami Vice when I'm walking around there. It's beautiful there's so much energy. I love it.

Is there anything else about South Florida that catches your eye?
South Florida is gorgeous and the weather is always awesome. Florida is great. I was just there for the Super Bowl in Tampa and being originally from Milwaukee it was good to be there. Our Florida fans are always crazy, and we have a lot of friends and crew that are from there so it’s like a second home to us.

What can fans expect from this tour and what makes it stand out?
I think it’s more of a back to basics to tour. We also have a few new tricks up our sleeve with it. It’s cool because we’re playing in mid-sized venues, it’s still small enough where the energy is felt and the vibe from us is projected, and the fans energy is felt, too.
What do you think stands out from your band’s newest album, Folie a Deux?
We just recently toured in Japan and Australia, and we’ve just started to introduce it to the set. Newer songs are exciting to play and this is the album I’m most proud of. It goes back to the older days. We took the best out of all our records and mixed it in there.

Would you like to send a shout out to your fans?
We love you and that’s all. You’re the only fans we love. But, don’t tell anyone else. (Laughs)”


What: Fall Out Boy, Metro Station, Hey Monday, Cobra Starship and All Time Low
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Where: Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1806 NE 6th Street, Pompano Beach. (This event was moved to Pompano Beach Amphitheatre from Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton and tickets previously sold will be honored.)
Tickets: $35 or $21.25 each if you buy four; or 877-598-8497

-- Aurora Rodríguez


Spa week: Everyone needs a little pampering

April 16th, 2009

As an editor, I meet a lot of great people, see a lot of cool new places and pretty much mingle about Miami always eager to spot new things. The usual. Cool, I know.

Yet, although many of you might think that life’s a party at, when it comes to hours spent eagerly editing while bent forward sitting in a not-so-comfortable chair life can turn into quite the backache. That’s why I am so excited about Miami Spa Week - sponsored by Allure Magazine for all you stylish ladies out there who love to leaf through the glossy mag’s monthly tips and deals - and want to get you in on the fun, too.

From April 13 to April 19 spa lovers can indulge on amazing treatments at some of their favorite relaxation havens for the fraction of the price. For only $50, you can enjoy a top-notch treatment that would usually cost you over $100! Some highlights include a water dance with a facial at My Spa in the Intercontinental in Miami and a mini-facial and brow fax at the Contour Day Spa at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.

Interested in checking out other spots closer to home offering cheap spa treatments during spa week? Then, make sure to log on to and make your appointment.

You’re welcome.

-- Aurora Rodriguez

Miami nightlife crosses the border

April 6th, 2009

The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood is a place where friends meet with groups and gals bring their bachelorette on the loose to have one last hurrah. I would know this well, since I've been in both scenarios. There's something about the over-the-top casino/party spot that just keeps me coming back for more, even if that means driving north instead of south on I-95. And , being as how the former Spirits Nightclub was turned into Miami Beach hot-spot Opium this past weekend and I was invited to take a peek, I decided to go check it out.

Opium definitely brings a certain decadence to the Hard Rock for those who seek a South Beach experience from the deep red, circus tent-style entrance with dragon sculptures greeting you at the door. Once inside, you'll be whisked away into a sexy, Asian-themed paradise, decorated in deep red, gold and bronze colors, complete with enormous lamps. The small lounge area was my favorite. There, a DJ spent the time spinning top 40 hits and techno while those in attendance danced the night away. Cocktail waitresses wear skimpy apron-like costumes and fishnet tights, ready to take your order. While the bigger room is gorgeous, it's hard to dance when almost every square foot of it is meant for V.I.P. bottle service. What used to be a gigantic dance floor in Spirits has become an overgrown SET-like atmosphere - another Opium family club - where those who get in are ready to fork over the dollars for their favorite Grey Goose or champagne. Word to the wise: if you build it, they will come - just make sure it's recession friendly.

Saturday night was definitely the night to feel V.I.P., since you could dance the night away no matter what, perched atop the exclusive table service area. Everyone was welcome, even dancers in dragon costumes gyrating on poles meant for crowd entertaining. Once Joel Madden took over the DJ booth - perfectly placed in front of a water fountain - he had everyone dancing to Lady Gaga and Timbaland. But, did he have to play Chris Brown? While everyone danced no matter what, it was still a surprising choice from the Good Charlotte singer turned socialite.

I give Opium props for brining Miami nightlife to Hollywood. It's a beautiful scene worthy of a look and will surely do well for those seeking an exclusive club vibe. And the Hard Rock has become a definite all-in-one destination, where you can get your small bar/lounge experience right next to some of the biggest clubs in South Florida. Just don't forget your checkbook and do work those connections.

Enjoy the photo gallery here.

- Aurora Rodriguez

Just a day in Miami

March 27th, 2009

In Miami, it's only natural that I feel like sometimes I simply live a life less ordinary. Let it be on days when I wake up and it's over 80 degrees while other places suffer amongst subzero weather, or on days like the one I'm about to narrate which include dancing tourists and "behind the scenes" strolls through fashion catwalks, it's easy to feel like in South Florida we're truly part of something special.

Yesterday afternoon I was whisked away by a friend and work source for a lunch meeting at Nikki Beach where we chatted over chicken fingers about and her life in New York. Once I got there, I could feel WMC going on in full swing as local Nikki Music DJ's (the club's own record label) spun their best beats to girls gyrating in bikinis and high heels right next to buff chested guys. Oh well...better get in the spirit. Taking off my work coat and revealing a red tank top, I was introduced to a glass of Ed Hardy champagne which was not bad. The light, fruity and tart taste was good for 3 p.m. and so was the recognition that Nikki Beach was serving Medalla Light for VIP's! Say what? Medalla is Puerto Rico's own light beer, and it's a rarity to find in the United States. Will Miami begin to carry it soon? We hope so! It's delicious and reminds me of home.

I left Nikki at around 3:30, ready to head on over to the Fontainebleau and hit up Rock Fashion Week's media opening festivities. After asking WMC revelers what events they were looking forward to the most (anything Pasha NYC, and...duh...Ultra!), I was looking forward to some high fashion tips.

Once I arrived at the "millionaire's row" hotel I noticed it was almost at full capacity. Preparations were going on for Thursday afternoon's Bacardi B-Live music event, seemingly lost souls partook on a software convention and kids sporting neon sunglasses and shirts that read "I'm in Miami B%$#ch!" were all together in the same Bleau Bar. Walking towards one of the Fontainebleau's ball rooms, I was treated to passes for that evening's festivities and a behind the scenes tour of where dozens of models would be parading their best looks from designers such as Lei Marco, Ella Bella and edgy New York designer Richie Rich. The flowing and black outside tent looked perfectly propped right next to the ocean, where anyone can get the perfect sneak peek of the water. Or, at least feel the cool breeze.

After the behind the scenes media event I was treated to a visit to the Artistry bus. There, makeup technicians and designers representing the natural and mineral-based makeup which will be helping the model's glow were giving free paraffin hand treatments and makeup applications. Some tips for the summer? Keep it bare, natural yet colorful. Play up your own skin tone and hang on to rosy lips. They're always in style. Looking to find a Miami rep selling Artistry? Their starter kit is a steal at $59 and includes all the makeup you need to use on your face. Just check out their web site,

After getting dolled up I met with Texan fashion designer Abi Ferrin. She seemed super excited to reveal her newest collection Thursday evening, which will be featuring her year-round friendly colorful dressy frocks - such as light airy sundresses with added cowboy boots as a kick - and collaborations with stylist Heather Robinson of Maverix swimwear. All her fashion is under the motto "Fashion with Freedom and Purpose", which comes from her work with two rescue organizations in Nepal and Cambodia. Celebrity fans of her line include Ashlee Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Rachel Bilson and Paris Hilton, so fashionistas better get ready to snap up some ideas and new outfits.

Once I was done chatting with Abi, I headed over to Bleau Bar for a signature mimosa and to rest up. While I was sitting there, I was surprised to see designer Richie Rich asking to sit next to me. According to the former Heatherette designer, his fashion show will reveal some exciting new stuff alongside Rock Fashion Week participant Pamela Anderson. Guess we'll have to wait and see some of his new edgy punk-rock designs with a socialite kick.


-- Aurora Rodriguez

Spending some time with a Kardashian

March 25th, 2009

This past Friday night proved to be a packed night at SET as hundreds of fashionistas and their arm candy of choice stopped by for the 944 magazine hosted soiree, “Flavors of Fashion”, featuring a fashion show by LeI Marco collection and an array of signature cocktails featuring Grey Goose vodka flavors in celebration of spring styles and current cover girl, reality star and socialite Kourtney Kardashian.

Even though the “Keeping up with the Kardashians” star caused quite the stir as fans shot pictures of her when she arrived wearing a short Cavalli dress at the event, the sweet and friendly starlet stopped for a few to chat with the media – even stopping to smile and snap pictures with some – to tell us what she loves about Miami’s vibrant nightlife scene.

What do you love most about Miami?
I am obsessed with Miami! I come here at every chance I get with my sisters. The weather is amazing; there are good restaurants, great beaches and a great nightlife scene. I love it when it’s really relaxed and there are hardly any people and hot, perfect for the beach. But it is great to see the party scene when it’s crowded.

Do you look forward to coming here a lot?
Yes, definitely at any chance we get! Currently we are obsessed with the Fontainebleau, it’s a great hotel and we’ve been staying there. I actually got this Cavalli dress at the hotel’s boutique tonight; it is so cute and has a great selection.

Do you have any other favorite boutiques in Miami that you would recommend ladies visit?
I love Atrium.  They have the best bikinis and cover ups on the beach. I love them! It’s a great store.

What are some of your favorite Miami restaurants?
I love Sultan Kabob on the beach, it’s delicious. When my sisters are down here with me I love to go there. I’m also obsessed with Nobu and Prime 112, like many people. The sweet potato mash is out of this world! There are some places I’m dying to try out, though, such as Phillipe and Prime Italian. I want to go to Phillipe so bad!
I was here a couple of weeks ago for a benefit with my sisters and Kim and Reggie said they loved Prime Italian. Been dying to try it ever since!

So, should we expect you back in Miami soon?
Yes! We have so many friends here and it’s the perfect place to come relax.

- Aurora L. Rodriguez

In Miami, what girl doesn’t love fancy jewelry?

March 20th, 2009

Being a girl who eagerly pokes around the jewelry section at Forever 21 and dreams of owning the entire Tiffany and Co. silver collection, I was thrilled when I got an invite in my inbox to check out designs by Ippolita Jewelry in a private event at an Ocean Drive penthouse.

Drawn by the thought of sipping sparkling Piper Heidsieck champagne while browsing multi-colored 18K gold jewelry and taking in the views of the ocean from a home larger than your usual studio apartment rental, I drove over on a laid-back afternoon with visions of gorgeous necklaces and bracelets dancing in my head.

Once I arrived, I was treated like royalty with complimentary valet parking and was whisked upstairs. “You’re lucky, only about 12 people have come in today and all have walked out with a significant amount of stuff,” said the doorman with a grin. “I’m sure there’s still plenty left over for you.”

Oh, I wish. My budget right now is more on the Claire’s jewelry side than designer vintage, but a girl can dream. And being as how I love shopping and fashion – and cocktails, champagne, and wine – the thought of an event mixing it all was purely fabulous. Just call me your sneak peek to upcoming trends.

At the event, I was given a sneak peek of jewelry worn by actresses such as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Kate Hudson. All the pieces were timeless, perfect to wear with that little black dress or slinky flowing top to a cocktail party, and had enough bling to be subtle yet classy. Some highlights included the designers perfectly sculptured stackable bangles with clear and colored quartz stones, gold sculpted hoops with intricate diamonds and her new and upcoming silver line featuring quartz settings that capture the sunlight and seem fit for a princess.

The group hosting the event came straight from New York, and some were happy to answer questions regarding upcoming trends, which I was thankful for since others weren’t as talkative. Yet, I was happy to sip on the bubbly and listen in as they recommended Miami fashionistas to be on the lookout for the earthy and sophisticated mix of turquoise stones, gold and deep-colored quartzes.

Looking to snag some Ippolita jewelry as soon as possible? Go no further than Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue at Bal Harbour Shops. Just consider me your friendly fashion concierge.

-- Aurora Rodríguez



Cosmo Bikini Bash 2009

March 16th, 2009

In Miami, we can all deal with our share of cold weather here and there, as long as it’s no chillier than the 50’s. But, once a sunny day hits, you bet that we’re going to throw on our hottest bikinis and surf shorts and make it out towards the closest or most convenient mix of sand and ocean, otherwise known as the beach.

Last Saturday every girl’s fashion and beauty “bible” – Cosmopolitan – hosted the 2009 Cosmo Bikini Bash at Nikki Beach in Miami Beach. Being how it was a friend’s birthday and she wanted to have some fun in the sun, I braved the traffic, woke up my husband and made him drive me over there so he could accompany my friend’s boyfriend as we indulged in one of the year’s hottest parties. Once we arrived at around 11 a.m. we secured a spot south of Fifth St. and made our way to the event.

Ladies, if you plan on coming next year do so, even if it’s just for the goody bags! Jam packed with bright orange Essie nail polish, Nivea lotions, Mentos strawberry gum, coupons, razors, sun block and a celeb-designer Shay Todd royal blue bikini which the girls scrambled to switch into, it’s the type of stash you won’t be sad to have to bring back home and can actually use on your next trip to the warm Miami sand.

Being a part of the Cosmo Bikini bash was like being a part of a giggly, girly sorority party. Ladies lounged in cabanas flipping through the latest issue of Cosmo. Guys sipped on mojitos and watched all the action. And you could take turns tossing beach balls while munching on free fruits, granola bars and sipping flavored Dasani water. Some even braved the heat and sipped on $9 cosmos, specially priced for the event.

And once the clock struck 1 p.m. it was time to pour onto the beach and spell COSMO on the sand for all to see in the magazine’s Miami issue. The perfect way to get a golden tan surrounded by hundreds of your new spring break-ready BFF’s.

According to Shay Todd, events like these are succesful thanks to the variety of ladies that arrive ready to be a part of it.

“When Nivea asked me to design a bikini I thought of one which would flatter every body type and every woman,” said Todd. “It’s great to see girls of all shapes and sizes here for the event and having a good time. It’s an honor to have them wearing my suits. Everyone looks great!”

And, proven by the array of pretty ladies proudly showing off their shape while sporting the bright blue frock, this was not a day to be shy. It’s all about pride, comfort and the art of “flaunting it”. So Miami Beach, right? Hey, they got me in a bikini on a random Saturday. And, I don’t regret it a single bit.

- Aurora Rodríguez

Miami Madness

March 7th, 2009

March Madness, the phrase coined by journalists and fans and marketing gurus for the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, can totally be applied to Miami every third month of the year. From the Miami International Film Festival to Calle Ocho to Carnaval on the Mile to the Sony Ericsson Open tennis to Funkshion Fashion Week Miami Beach to the Winter Music Conference, there may not be a better place than in Miami during March. (And this year we even get some of those tournament basketball games over at Dwyane Wade's house - AmericanAirlines Arena).

Thursday night was when I realized Miami's March Madness had arrived. Two parties, one at the Viceroy at Icon in Brickell and the other at David Barton's new gym and spa at The Gansevoort South, were stuffed with celebrities and people who felt like celebs and people who believe they are celebrities. Sharon Stone and Selma Blair at the Viceroy, a stunning hotel worth checking out the next time you're in Brickell. Tommy Lee and DJ Aero performing at the gym which feels like you're working out in a Moroccan-inspired club with hardbodies everywhere.

After soaking it all in, the best part of the night was when myself and a pair of friends tagged on with a large party that was headed to Plunge, the rooftop hotel of the Gansevoort. They didn't know us. We didn't know them. But we managed to stowaway on the elevator rideand get to the roof in no time, where it was packed. Where did all these people come from? I ran into a friend who said that LIV at the Fontainebleau was the same for the party launch of a new website. Recession? What recession? Three packed opening parties and a rooftop full of revlers? Let the Madness begin.