Monthly Archives: July 2011

las tias

Las Tias & the Lotus House: Improving our World

Going shopping with my mother is always an adventure because she finds these cool places that I’ve never heard of…an activity she was notorious for when I was a kid because she, my dad and I would end up driving to Miami’s city limits to find the best Mexican food, or the best shoes.  Now that I’m in my 30s, I get it, and now I’m the one instigating the drive.
Thankfully, many cool places have popped up close by in the MiMo district, and Midtown.  And now the adventure is not spending money on my afternoons with my mom!  On this afternoon, however, we had breakfast near the MiMo district, at Yiya’s (which is my second blog…scroll down to find out about this treasure!), and then we drove into Midtown to a consignment store called, Las Tias.
Just so you know how hip this place is, there was a gorgeous armoire and hutch sold to Shakira, and being shipped to her home in Colombia.  Yes, Shakira shops there, but no, the items for sale are not only at prices that Shakira can afford…regular folks like you and I can afford them as well, which is how I walked out with a beautiful, elegant gray dress from an Italian maker that I only paid $35 for.  Ummm…it would have cost 4 times as much usually.
Now that we’ve established the great, affordable prices, let’s talk about the customer service.  I was greeted by Desiree, who deserves many kudos for the way she deals with customers.  She makes you feel like you’re a friend.  She’s sincere, informative and attentive.  The rest of the staff seems to be very much the same way.  You can’t beat that!
Desiree then told me about The Lotus House, and that they donate a lot to the Lotus House, which is an amazing homeless shelter for women and children.  For many women, it’s the first time they are able to choose something as simple as the chair that will go in their new homes.  They empower these women by helping them find a home, and work, which some of them find in the same place that helped them find their voices again.  Constance Margulies, art collector and art patron, formed the Sundari foundation, and the Lotus House was its first project, because bettering a community takes more than new stores and art galleries, it takes helping & empowering the community itself, which Mrs. Margulies is doing.  So, if there’s clothes you no longer wear or furniture you longer use…take it to The Lotus House and do your part in helping your community.
So, I give Las Tias 4 Shakira-style dances and The Lotus House 4 Avalokiteshvara Empowerments!

Here’s the info for Las Tias: 2834 N. Miami Avenue, 305-573-4198, http://www.lastias.com
Here’s the info for The Lotus House: 217 NW 15th Street, 305-576-4780
http://www.lotushouseshelter.org/
http://www.lotushouseshelter.org/art/press/Miami_Today_10_29_09.pdf

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midnightinparis

Midnight in Paris

This enjoyable film that was written and directed by Woody Allen, will inspire viewers to all say the same thing during and after the film: I love Paris.  At least those of us that have been there will feel nostalgia sweep over, leaving us with a longing to return to Paris in the rain.
The shots of Paris are beautiful, captured at their most intimate moments.  Then you add the rich fantasy life of the protagonist, Gil, played by Owen Wilson, and suddenly you travel in time to Paris in the 1920s.  There you visit a number of historical figures, some of which include, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, Picasso’s mistress, Adriana, who becomes Gil’s desire & catharsis, and then there’s Gertrude Stein, played by the incredible Kathy Bates, who as usual, charms you, as well as Adrien Brody’s humorous portrayal of Salvador Dali.
Wilson plays Allen’s role incredibly well…that soft spoken, neurotic, compulsive, imaginative writer.  Bates is amazing as usual, as well as Brody.  Rachel McAdams plays the role decently as she is paired once again along side Wilson (last time in Wedding Crashers), and still they have no chemistry, which works well in this film.  Michael Sheen is decent as the annoying, pretentious, slef-involved, antagonist, Paul.  Kudos to Marion Cotillard, who plays Adriana, and Gil’s soul-mate, Gabrielle, played by Lea Seydoux, who thankfully plays a character that remains alive and happy at the end (she has a tendency to play tragic characters).
Overall, it was a lovely film, and it will plant the desire to visit the city of love.

I give this Midnight in Paris 3 Eiffel Towers at sunset.

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$0.49 Sundays at Blockbuster

    With Netflix’s prices going up, it’s nice to have a respite from the company that started all the trouble originally and is now in a huge financial crisis…Blockbuster.  On Sundays in July, the videos that are usually $1.99 or less, are reduced to $0.49.  It’s a great deal that allows you to feel more inclined to watch those movies that you didn’t want to pay full price for at the theater or even spend $1.99 on.  For example: Red Riding Hood and The Dilemma…
    
I loved Big Love, and I liked Amanda Seyfried’s character in the show, so I followed her to Mama Mia!, and Dear John just to name a couple.  However, last Sunday, I decided to follow her and Gary Oldman to Red Riding Hood and now my significant other has banned me from choosing movies…even if they only cost $0.49.  It was that bad.  It was long.  It was cheesy.  It needed to stop.  Thank goodness I was able to multi-task while watching it, otherwise it would have been a total waste of 2 hours of my life that I can never get back.  
    Then, because that wasn’t bad enough, I popped in The Dilemma…and it was truly a dilemma…do I really have to watch this movie?  How is it possible that the only woman allowed to play me in my movie (Winona Ryder), could choose to act in such a terrible film?  I was distraught.  Vince Vaughn films are usually neutral…everyone likes them.  Not this one.  Keep your $0.49…two quarters will serve you better in a parking meter.
    Now onto the films not chosen by me: Red and The Next Three Days.
    Red: Wonderful.  I loved it.  Amazing cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker (who only likes the wild side now), John Malkovich (who is brilliant, particularly with the pink pig), Morgan Freeman (no need for words although I will mention that his presence adds elegance to any scene), Richard Dreyfuss (it’s Richard!), Brian Cox (who is smooth and truly a hidden treasure in this film) and then there’s Helen Mirren (she can watch my back anytime…she was witty, smart and just kickass!).
    The Next Three Days: It was good.  Russell Crowe’s acting is always superb.  Elizabeth Banks is also good (and recently spotted by moi at the Tim Burton exhibit).  
    The point is go check out Blockbuster on Sundays in July!  This deal gets 4 Malkovich pink pigs!

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amywinehouse

Rest in Peace Amy Winehouse…

    What can I say?  We have lost yet another talented, brilliant artist.  She joins the ranks of the tortured, beautiful souls that make our days a little more tolerable:  Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Edith Piaf, and now, Amy Winehouse…Rest in peace you beautiful women and thank you for sharing your souls with us. 

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Horrible Bosses

Can you guess what the #1 Halloween costume might be this year for the ladies?  Probably Jennifer Anniston’s little doctor/man-napper outfit (if you’ve seen the movie you know the outfit I’m talking about, and if you haven’t seen it…go watch the movie).  This was Jennifer’s best role in a long time…she was her sexy, funny self, and was able to step outside the good girl roles (no pun intended since The Good Girl was her best role).  She was dirty.  Raunchy.  One of the guys.  But, in a really hot outfit!
Jason Bateman…I love him.  He may play the same role in every film, but so does Vince Vaughn and that’s worked out well for Vince…well, until The Dilemma, but that’s another review.  It’s so great to see Jason exploding in the theater…those of us that grew up in the 80s watched Jason circle around Silver Spoons, Valerie’s Family, and Teen Wolf Too. We missed him.  I missed him.  Glad he’s been resurrected like Travolta.  He does a great job as the OCD, anxious, Nick Hendricks, whose evil boss is brilliantly played by Kevin Spacey.  Speaking of evil, Colin Farrell plays an amusingly self-absorbed, self-serving ninja-wanna-be with a comb-over who inherits his father’s business.  Who’s the father?  The amazingly, sexy Donald Sutherland.
Who steals the movie?  Charlie Day.  Him and Sudeikis play supporting roles in Going the Distance, and return together to co-star with Bateman.  Who else steals it?  Jennifer. Jason. Ok, it was a great cast.  Kudos to Jamie Foxx and Julie Bowen (Claire from Modern Family).
I enjoyed the movie, although I still prefer Bridesmaids.  However, you ask my dearly beloved who went to see it with me, whose thunderous laughter filled the theater, and he will tell you the movie is amazing.

I give it 3 kinky Jen outfits.

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The End of Hogwarts & Platform 9-3/4…

    The wound was reopened, and made to bleed once again.  No more new adventures at Hogwarts.  The boy who lived found his way into our hearts through the pages of seven fantasy novels that erupted onto the big screen, all of it ending tonight with the release of the second part of Deathly Hallows.  
    It was slow.  It lacked the artistic flair of the last few, specifically the Goblet of Fire, which in my opinion, is the only one of the films that stands on its own.  However, it is Harry, and so all is forgiven.  Did I cry?  Of course.  Especially when we watch Snape’s memories in Dumbledore’s Pensieve.  Did I cheer?  Yup, especially when Harry rises from the dead and again with Mrs. Weasley when she gets all crazy on Bellatrix.  Am I glad I went to bed at 5 a.m. because I was wearing Potter-style glasses and a Ron t-shirt, while I stood in line with people wearing capes and Gryffindor ties awaiting the release of the final movie?  Yeeeeah!  Not the point though.  
    
Deathly Hallows Part 2 gets 2.5 Elder Wands. 
Harry, Hogwarts & their legacy get 5 of Lily Potter-style Talismans of Love!

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Ruby Slippers & Karaoke

    Why ruby slippers & karaoke?  Is it related to Dorothy singing to theTin Man or maybe a duet with the Wicked Witch?  Sounds like a musical.  Actually, it refers to Thursday nights at Waxy O’Connor’s off Brickell, and a drink called Ruby Slipper, made by a very cool bartender there.
     So here’s a perfect girl’s night out: happy hour at Jaguar’s in the Grove for some mojitos and ceviche (try El Nuevo!), followed by Waxy O’Connor’s.   A gal’s got to let her hair down, and rekindle the fire that life’s circumstances can wear down to hot ashes.
    Waxy’s can kick that moment off for you!  (I’ve been watching Glee too much because as I wrote this I had this desire to form a Rockette line and start kicking really high, while simultaneously fantasizing about singing “Defying Gravity” as Elphaba in Wicked!). This place will make you feel like you’re living an episode of Cheers because that’s how welcome everyone there makes you feel.  Have some delicious sliders, and try their mini beers (these tiny little mugs filled with beer, and topped with some sweet liqueur mixed with cream that is delicious!).  Thursday nights there’s karaoke, and who knows?  You may end up dancing to “Sweet Home Alabama” on top of the bar.  
    Please finish your evening off at “La Baguette”, open 24 hours, near Brickell/Little Havana with a tuna sandwich and lots of water! 

Happy Hours at Jaguar’s (4-7 p.m.)…4 ceviche-filled amazon spoons!
Go to Waxy’s!  I give them 4 mini beers!
And finish your night at La Baguette…4 cornichons! 

Here’s the info on these three great places:

Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill, 3067 Grand Avenue, 305-444-0216
Waxy O’Connor’s: 690 SW 1st Ct, http://waxysmiami.com/  (Ladies: This Friday night you drink absolutely free from 9-11PM!) 
La Baguette: 427 SW 8th Street, www.labaguettemiami.com

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Moving in Miami…

      Within a 3 year period, I have moved myself, friends or family a minimum of 15 times.  Therefore, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in the matters of moving, particularly in Miami.  I also have spent the last three years doing repairs in my home and other people’s homes.  I’m slowly, but surely becoming Bob Vila or maybe Bob the Builder (I don’t want to even get into how I’ve slowly but surely become a car mechanic!). 
      I know the best way to access great storage unit deals, what handymen to hire and which not to hire, good plumbers & electricians, what floor companies to use and which not to unless you like your walls Pollock-style.  There’s so much time and energy and MONEY invested into moving that when a friend of mine told me she had read an article stating moving as a leading cause of stress in a person’s life, I totally believed her and felt no need to check her sources. 
      I’m here to alleviate some of that for you.  Usually I write happy reviews that celebrate the positives about something, someone or some place, and I will give you that today, but I will also share some of my bitterness, vent and rip at those that take advantage of people at this stressful moment in their lives.  
    If you’ve never owned a home or moved, maybe you’ve been spared some heartache, and it’s best to be prepared for battle, and in Miami, the battle is mainly keeping people to their word…we are a bit flaky here…I attribute it to the amount of sun we are exposed to while lounging at the beach, and not drinking enough water…we must all be dehydrated, and how can’t you be flaky if you’re dehydrated?  That’s why when you make appointments with contractors, repairmen, etc…it’s important to ask them if they’ve had their daily recommended amount of water, otherwise you might be waiting for someone that might never show up (dehydration is a serious matter!).
    
    Here’s the thumbs down list:

All Floor Installers – do you want your closet to look like Pollock was cleaning his brushes in it?  want to be locked into you room because the doors were replaced incorrectly and you can’t get out?  how about just an expensive, crappy floor job — want one?  These guys are unprofessional, and they stink…4 broken laminates for this company!

Miami Moving – Don’t pick these guys unless you feel generous, enjoy giving away money, and want to end up asking close friends and family to move you because these movers didn’t do their job.  2 broken-down moving trucks for them!

    Thumbs up:

A+ Moving – Ask what moving in specials they have.  If you go to the S. Miami location, ask for Wes.  However, you will find better deals at the locations in the NW.
Michael  – plumber – 305-720-8648
Castellan Plumbing – 305-305-7951 (ask for Tati)
Leo – electrician – 305-303-0564
Edin – handyman – 305-281-6699
Amaya Roofing – 305-406-9828

I have more, which I will give you once I find their numbers!  Good luck moving and repairing and remember: make sure they are properly hydrated before making appointments!

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Glee: a remedy for heartbreak.

    Are you sad?  Not feeling quite yourself?  Feel stressed?  Maybe you have a leak in your house.  Maybe your boyfriend broke-up with you once again for the third time, within the same week.  Or maybe your latest hairstyle looks like Annie met that mean gremlin, Spike?  
    Whatever it is that’s getting you down…here’s my suggestion:  put down that candybar that will go straight to your ass, pour out that beer because it’s only going to encourage poor, late-night decisions and give you a belly (and not that cute kind that Ms. Blueberry Pancakes from Pulp Fiction was raving about), and once you finish reading this, go to the address bar and type in www.netflix.com, log in (or if you’re not a member, become one for a month – first month is free), and type “Glee” in the search bar, select “Play”, and now laugh, sing along, dance around the room (make sure no one is watching you in this very carefree moment), and be prepared to feel warm, happy and wanting to sing at your old high school!  
    I give Glee (season 1, and season 2 disc’s are on their way – I just upgraded my membership) 5 Rachel Gold Stars!
    
    

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Game of Sex…

     Can’t wait to see this week’s episode.  What a great show.  Can’t believe you haven’t seen it.  You’d love it.  Blah blah blah.  This is all I kept hearing from people about some new show…Game of something.  Sounded familiar.  I’d heard of it…oh, that’s right, I did see the previews on HBO.  I guess I was intrigued at the moment of seeing the trailers.  
     Now that I had decided to add HBO because of True Blood starting back up, I figured it couldn’t hurt to check out one episode and so I did. 
     Kings & queens, feuding kingdoms, dragons, savages, violence, decapitations, betrayals, brothels, love, and…sex between savages, sex between siblings, sex between friends, sex, sex, sex…how had I not seen this show before?!
     One episode turned into the entire first season’s 10 episodes, available on On Demand under HBO Series until July 18th, and then after that date you’ll have to Netflix it.  Sadly, the second season will not begin until Spring 2012.  Thankfully, True Blood will ease the void. 
     What a great show.  Can’t believe you have haven’t seen it.  You’d love it!

Game of Thrones gets 4 noble thumbs up!   

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