Leah's Fabulous Finds
Inspiring women

Archive for November, 2012

Conch Style: What to buy the girl who has everything

Posted on: November 30th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Holiday shopping for your friends and family can be a difficult task.  Especially if you have someone on your list who seemingly already has everything.  Luckily, we have so many wonderful boutiques in the Keys that offer an amazing selection of gift items.  Below are a few of my favorite finds from around the Keys that would make amazing gifts for the fashionista in your life.

Give the gift of relaxation.  Every girl would love to spend a night away while getting pampered with her special someone or her girlfriends.  Buy a gift certificate for a spa treatment and a night stay at Hawks Cay on Duck Key.    Their Calm Waters Spa offers an abundance of spa services including massage, facials, mani pedis, and hair cut, color and styling.  In addition, she’ll be able to enjoy the whirlpool, dry sauna, and eucalyptus steam room before or after her treatments. For room rates and spa services go to HawksCay.com or call 888.395.5539.

Gallery Morada in Islamorada is selling the cutest bottle insulators for only $10 that would make great stocking stuffers.  Called the Freaker, they insulate every bottle in your home from a wine bottle to a can of diet coke, keeping it cool or warm.  In addition, they’re made in the U.S. and are machine washable for easy cleaning and come in a variety of colors and prints perfect for everyone on your list.  Go to GalleryMorada.comor call 305.664.3650.


Freaker bottle insulator sold at Gallery Morada in Islamorada for just $10.

Freaker bottle insulator sold at Gallery Morada in Islamorada for just $10.

Give the gift of Chocolate.  The Key Largo Chocolate Shop located at MM 100 sells the most mouthwatering, handmade truffles that have ever existed, literally.  Hand-pick them out at their location or order them online at KeyLargoChocolates.com and have them shipped directly to your friends and family. My favorites… almond toffee, milk chocolate caramels with sea salt and key lime dark chocolate truffles.    They also just started selling boxes of 4 truffles that hook onto a wine bottle and would make a wonderful hostess or host gift for that next holiday party you attend.  Want to give a more interactive gift?  Key Largo Chocolates offers classes for adults and kids on how to make truffles.  The adult classes are served with wine and are a great way to celebrate the holidays with your girlfriends.  Call 305.453.6613 for more information.

Kiki’s Spa and Salon Saige in Tavernier has the most amazing all natural soy candles sold for just $22.95.  Called SOi, this candle is made with soy oil that burns cleaner and longer than traditional candles and doubles as a skin moisturizer.  Eco-friendly, biodegradable and available in a variety of scents including blood orange, amber & sandlewood and my favorite, creme brulee.  Stop by or call 305.852.0011 for more information.

All-natural SOi candles sold at Kiki's Spa and Salon Saige in Tavernier

All-natural SOi candles sold at Kiki’s Spa and Salon Saige in Tavernier

The Banyan Tree in Islamorada is selling Mini Emergency Kit’s For Her for only $16.  Available in glittery red, green or silver, this mini case would be great for your car or purse.  Offering 17 beauty and personal care essentials for the occasions when we don’t have access to our beauty tools at home.  The kit includes a bandage, safety pin, earring backs, deordorant towelette, dental floss, breath freshener, mending kit, tampon, nail polish remover, stain remover, clear elastics, lip balm, emery board, hair spray, clear nail polish, double sided tape and pain reliever.  Help your loved ones avoid near disasters with this adorably handy emergency kit.  Did I mention it’s sparkly?  They’re absolutely fabulous.  Call 305.664.3433 for more information.

Banyan Tree in Islamorada sells Emergency Kits for Her.

Banyan Tree in Islamorada sells Emergency Kits for Her.

Every Florida Keys girl should own a Lily Pulitzer dress.  Their bright patterns and classic shapes can be worn all year-round and the lady in your life will love it.  The Key West Lily Pulitzer shop features the iconic dresses along with women’s and kid’s clothing and accessories.  A Lily Pulitzer shift dress is a classic wardrobe staple she will have in her closet forever.  Located at 600 Front Street in Key West.  Prices range from $88 to $238.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

This article was also featured in the Florida Keys Reporter and Keynoter as a part of my “Conch Style” column that runs bi-weekly in the Friday and Saturday edition.  If you have story ideas on style in the Florida Keys, please send me an email at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.


Designer Holiday Collection Launches at Neiman Marcus and Target this Saturday!

Posted on: November 29th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

My name is Leah and I am an avid shopper.  In most cases, I’m really quite obsessed.  I can’t wait to see the new designs, colors and fabrics for each season.  But this time of year shopping becomes more of a sport than an enjoyable pastime.  (I literally wore tennis shoes while shopping on Black Friday!!!)  It’s all about getting the best deal on items you really don’t need and standing in crazy-long lines in the wee-hours of the morning with cranky strangers who’ve not had enough coffee.

This Saturday, December 1st will mark the launch of Target and Neiman Marcus’ designer holiday collection.  And the really wonderful thing about this much anticipated collection, other than the amazingly affordable designer apparel, is you can shop it online or in stores!   This limited-time collection features a total of 50 exclusive holiday gifts by 24 designers including: Alice + Olivia, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs.  This is one shopping day you won’t want to miss.

The collection ranges from $19.99 for a Tory Burch lunchbox to $499.99 for a bike designed by Alice + Olivia.  Below are a few of my favorites that I’ll be shopping for this Saturday.


Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection - Pouch $69.99

For you: Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection – Pouches $69.99


Target & Neiman Marcus Holiday Designer Collection

For the fashionista: Robert Rodriguez ruffled top – $79.99, Lela Rose dress for $99.99, Lela Rose top $69.99 & Tracy Reese sequin blouse $79.99


Target Neiman Marcus Holiday collection

For the jetsetter: Brian Atwood Leather globes $49.99, Alice & Olivia luggage $199.99, Prabal Gurung cape $79.99


Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection

For the home: Jason Wu ornaments $49.99, Tracy Reese dessert plates $39.99, Eddie Borgo accent box $49.99 & Altuzarra double old fashioned glasses $49.99


Holiday Sip & Shop Soiree

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas list and all those hard-to-shop-for people on it!  Please join us on Thursday, November 29th from 6-9 p.m. for a holiday Sip & Shop event.

Enjoy complimentary wine and light hors d’oeuvres while getting started on your holiday shopping at your favorite local boutiques including: Miss Monroe, Banyan Tree, Islamorada Mercantile, Wild Lily Boutique, Zero Dress Code, On Second Thought Consignment, Islamorada Fitness sportswear collection, Tootsie Couture Flip Flops and Tropical Zensations

Please RSVP to Leah at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

When:  Thursday, November 29 from 6-9 p.m.

Sip & Shop Soiree will be held at Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty in Islamorada  – 81888 Overseas Highway, MM 81 Bayside.

For more information, go to the Sip and Shop event page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/129487590536352/


Conch Style: Defining the Keys Casual Dress Code

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

The majority of the events in the Florida Keys all have one thing in common, the Keys Casual dress code.  By definition, the Keys are casual, laidback, and known for their “anything goes” type of attitude.  So what does this mean when it comes to what to wear to an event ?

Women seem to have this dress code figured out.  At “Keys Casual” events, you will typically see women wearing dresses or skirts with wedges or sandals.  Not only does this work for the warm climate but a dress can dressed up or down for the occasion by simply pairing it with the right accessories.  Worn with sandals and a light-weight scarf, your look will be more casual.  Pair that same dress with wedges or heels and a clutch, and the same dress will look more formal.  For women, dresses and skirts are really the perfect piece of clothing for the Florida Keys.

This dress code really gets interesting when it comes to men.  Typically you will see them in everything from cargo shorts and flip flops to slacks with a jacket.  This creates quite a range of looks on the spectrum of “Keys Casual”.

Keys Casual should really be defined as: “If you’d wear it fishing, don’t wear it to our event.”

Let’s start with the shoes.  There are really only two appropriate shoes to wear in the Keys for a “Keys Casual” event: a leather sandal or a loafer.  Leather makes both look more refined and sophisticated while still being comfortable.   It’s also important to think about the venue for your event, will it be held on a beach?  In the Park?  At a tiki bar?  Both of these shoes will still easily navigate the landscapes of many venues for Florida Keys events.  Reserve your dress shoes for a more formal occasion like dinner out in Miami.

Flat front shorts or pants are always going to be more stylish than a pleated front.  Pleated front pants and shorts scream old man.  If you’re still wearing this style, upgrade to flat front.  Wear slacks in more casual hues such as kahki, gray or even a color like blue or salmon.  Although you really can never go wrong with black, if you are going to wear black pants to a Keys Casual event, make sure you are wearing a more casual shirt such as a polo so that  you aren’t over dressed.

Acceptable shirts for the Keys Casual dress code consist of short sleeve polos, short sleeved collared button down dress shirts and Oxford long-sleeved, collared button down shirts.  Short-sleeve button down shirts made by Tommy Bahama are the perfect Keys Casual look and are easy to come by in the Keys.  But don’t confuse this with Hawaiian shirts.  Hawaiian shirts should really only be worn if you either a. live in Hawaii, b. are attending the Good Health Clinic’s Annual Luau fundraiser, or c. work at a tiki bar.  Instead, wear shirts that are going to be more complimentary on you.   My father once gave me the advice that it’s better to be noticed than noticeable.  Big red flowers covering every square inch of your shirt are noticeable.  Instead, try a shirt in black or white hues.  Both hues will always look dressier, more stylish and more current than shirts covered in prints.

The great thing about shopping for a Keys Casual look for men is that most of the places you already frequent for all your boating and fishing supplies already carry a good assortment of “Keys Casual” shorts, slacks, polos and button down shirts.  Take a look at a few below the next time you need some clothes for an event.

West Marine – located in Key Largo, Marathon and Key West.  This boating Mecca store also carries a nice selection of men’s clothing including polos, button down shirts, slacks, shorts, leather sandals and loafers.  Open Monday-Saturday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  For store locations go to www.WestMarine.com

Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters – Located in Islamorada at MM 82.2, this retail store carries everything you need for your kayaking, camping, and outdoor adventure needs.  In addition, they also carry some great clothing for men including linen and knit flat front shorts, leather sandals and silk button down collared shirts.  Open Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m..  Contact them at 305.517.4177 or www.BackcountryCowboy.com for more information.

Florida Keys Outfitters – Located in Islamorada at MM 81.2, this retail store specializes in saltwater fly fishing offering fly fishing rods, reels, fly lines, flies and accessories.  In addition, they offer a nice selection of Oxford long-sleeve button down shirts and flat front slacks and shorts by Vineyard Vines.  Open Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Contact them at 305.664.5423 or www.FloridaKeysOutfitters.com.

Blue Boutique – Located in Islamorada and Key West, this retail store carries a nice assortment of contemporary men’s clothing from sport jackets to casual pants, to premium denim, watches, wallets, belts and footwear.  Open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Go to BlueIslandStore.com for locations.

Florida Keys shopping, Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters, Keys Casual, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Conch Style

Owner of Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters, JC Mikula, models a linen button-down shirt, flat front shorts and leather sandals from his store.


Florida Keys shopping, leather loafers, west marine, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Conch Style

Leather loafers found at West Marine for $79.99.

Conch Style: Spotlight on Miss Monroe Boutique

Posted on: November 2nd, 2012 by Leah No Comments
Florida Keys shops, Miss Monroe Boutique Featured in Conch Style Column by Leah Maki

Miss Monroe Boutique in the Florida Keys located at MM 88.5

If you’ve yet to visit this uber-stylish boutique in Plantation Key, you are missing out.  Miss Monroe Boutique, owned by the darling couple Liz and Sam Huddleston, is filled with flirty frocks, skirts and blouses, the best cardi’s you simply can’t live without, a great selection of shoes, and the most amazing dainty earrings and statement baubles found without a drive to the mainland.  Oh yea, and they just added home wares – think chic throw pillows, drapes, candles, soaps and great gifts.   Miss Monroe carries brands that are feminine with a bohemian/hippy vibe, while others are nostalgic of times past.  The classic silhouettes are sure to please even the most discerning shopper, especially when you see the price tags – sold for half-off what the brands typically retail.  All the lines carried by Miss Monroe come from a well-known lifestyle store with a creative aesthetic and panache for mixing everyday pieces with “wow” pieces.

Florida Keys shops, Miss Monroe Boutique Featured in Conch Style Column by Leah Maki

Liz Huddleston, owner of Miss Monroe Boutique and local Florida Keys Fashionista

The owners behind Miss Monroe are equally as chic bringing their tastes and talents into their business.  Learn more about Liz, a true Florida Keys fashionista, in my interview below:

As a born and bred conch, how have the Keys influenced your style and ultimately prompted you to study at London College of Fashion?

Growing up in the keys, my style was mainly influenced by the stylish European visitors and the classic preppy look of the snowbirds. Also, my mother is an amazing seamstress and used to indulge my passion for fashion regularly.

During High School, I worked as a hostess at Pierre’s. This gave me the opportunity to get very dressed up several times a week without complaint. I used to model my looks off vintage Hollywood Starlets from different decades.

Fashion magazines have always been a real passion of mine (I read on average 10 per month). While working at Pierre’s, I first came into contact with people working in the Fashion Industry. Photo shoots for different magazines and advertising campaigns would come into town for a few days and I was totally captivated by them. The creative people working on these shoots were very inspiring, particularly the ones from London.

When I graduated High School a few years later, I decided that instead of running straight off to college, I would go to London for a summer to study fashion. That was the best decision of my life. I discovered a passion for photography that summer and the next year I applied, and was accepted, to the BA Fashion Photography course at London College of Fashion.

While I was in college, I did internships at several Fashion magazines and worked as an assistant to fashion photographers and stylists. After graduating, the difficulty I experienced was finding paid work in my field. Unfortunately, fashion photography is a very competitive field and most people want it so badly they are willing to work for free! The real dilemma was how to work in fashion and still make a decent living.

What brought you back to the Keys?

When Sam and I decided to get married, we had to make a decision where we would begin the immigration process needed for an Englishman to marry an American woman.  We had been living in London for seven years and were kind of burnt out by city life. We decided to come back to the Keys. At the time, we considered it a temporary move and planned to go back after two years. As a fashion photographer and graphic designer our employment prospects in the Keys were pretty limited.  After a yearlong honeymoon filled with endless road trips, happy hours and sunsets, we were ready to get back to work.

I have always had a desire to work for myself and owning a boutique is something I’d been thinking about for years. I spent a few months creating a business plan and researching the need for another boutique in the area. I put together a convincing enough argument to win Sam over and we started work on the shop.

What is your go-to outfit for everyday in the Florida Keys? 

I have an amazing collection of dresses, retro ones from the shop, vintage ones from my travels and even a few modern ones. A lot of them could be considered too dressy for an average day in the Florida Keys. To tone them down, I pair them with flip flops or sandals and keep my hair and makeup natural.

What is your favorite stylish hangout in the Keys?   

Pierre’s is the only place I go when I’m in the mood for a nice glass of wine. They have a great wine list and I can very happily while away the hours sitting on their porch. If I’m feeling lively, I head to the side bar at Morada Bay. My favorite bartender, Joey, makes a great Mojito which goes perfectly with an order of calamari.

We try to get down to Key West as often as possible. We love drinking at The Porch, where the beer and wine list is extensive. To eat, you can’t beat Blue Heaven for the atmosphere, the yellowtail over linguine is heavenly. The Café, just off Duval Street is equally delicious.

Miss Monroe Boutique is located at MM 88.5 on the bayside in Plantation Key.  Their hours are Monday – Saturday 11:00 am-6:00 pm.  For more information, go to www.facebook.com/MissMonroeBoutique or call 305.735.4374.

 Florida Keys shops, Miss Monroe Boutique Featured in Conch Style Column by Leah Maki


Images courtesy of Sedura Imagery – Specializing in children and family photography. Go to Sedura.com or follow on facebook at Facebook.com/SEDURA for more information. 


This article was also featured in the Florida Keys Reporter and Keynoter as a part of my “Conch Style” column that runs bi-weekly in the Friday and Saturday edition.  If you have story ideas on style in the Florida Keys, please send me an email at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.