Leah's Fabulous Finds
Inspiring women

Archive for April, 2013

Join me at the Green Turtle for a Kentucky Derby Soiree

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Leah No Comments

On Saturday, May 4 join us at the Green Turtle in Islamorada for a Kentucky Derby Soiree to watch the best two minutes in sports while wearing fabulous hats and sipping mint juleps.

Arrive in style in your preppiest attire as we’ll be voting on the best dressed and the most fabulous hats!

The Green Turtle will be providing a Kentucky Derby themed discounted menu as well as specialty drinks including mint juleps.

And for all those boys and girls that wish they could be betting on their favorite horse, we’ll be holding a 50/50 raffle to benefit the United Way of the Florida Keys.

RSVP to Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

Kentucky Derby Hats

I wore a vintage ostrich feather hat last year for the Kentucky Derby!

 

See you there!

Conch Style: Hats off to Hats!

Posted on: April 19th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Since the Middle Ages, hats have held a variety of purposes throughout our culture. They have been worn for religious reasons, protection against the elements, safety, as fashion accessories and also to denote social status.

In Florida, the majority of the hats we see are used for sun protection. They range from baseball hats and visors to dramatically large beach hats made for lounging poolside. Fishing hats, which include those dreadfully efficient flaps that can connect to cover your neck, ears and face are also popular in the Keys. These fishing hats are like the fanny pack, useful, but not a fashion statement you’d want to make in public once off your back country boat.

The hats made by Key West artist, Judi Bradford, are in a class all their own. These one-of-a-kind creations range from $50-$185 and are reminiscent of the fascinator-styles more popular in the United Kingdom and famously worn for the Royal Wedding a few years ago.

Artist Judi Bradford

Artist Judi Bradford – image courtesy of Sheelman Photography

In fashion, hats can inspire an entire outfit, influencing the color scheme worn as well as the way you wear your hair. These beautiful pieces created by Bradford are referred to as fascinators, due to their charming size and intricate use of rich textiles, curious buttons, distinctive ribbons and luxurious feathers. The feathers used are predominantly from Key West urban roosters. They are gathered locally, gently washed, air dried, trimmed, and curled. She sells her hats at parties, trunk show events and sometimes right off the top of her head when she’s out and about. You can view her creations on her website at: www.judibradford.com and at her studio at the Studios of Key West at 600 White Street.

This summer, Judi will be traveling to New York for the prestigious and competitive American Craft Festival at Lincoln Center and to England to study with three British milliners: Bailey Tomlin, Judy Bentinck and Bobbi Heath. Their couture hats have been featured in Vogue Magazine and are worn to the Europe’s most famous horse races. In the fall she’ll be creating a new series of hats from all she learns while abroad.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to wear a beautiful hat like Judi Bradford’s, get your friends together for a viewing party of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4. Enjoy the best two minutes in sports while wearing fabulous hats and sipping the infamous mint julep. For those in the Upper Keys, I’ll be hosting a Kentucky Derby party at the Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada starting at 4 p.m. This event is open to the public and will include a discounted themed menu, specialty drinks and prizes for the best dressed and most fabulous hat! For more information, email me at leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

 

One of judi Bradford's creations

One of Judi Bradford’s creations

Best Way to Spend A Weeknight

Posted on: April 11th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

What’s the best new way to spend a weeknight?  Well making chocolate truffles of course!  Key Largo Chocolates located at MM 100 offers “A Night of Chocolates” truffle making class for just $75 per person.  The class includes wine, hors d’hoeuvres and more chocolate than you can eat!

Master chocolatier and owner, Kristie Thomas, leads the classes along with other helpers who expertly teach you how to hand-make their mouthwatering ganache, that magical filling that is the flavor heart of each of her handmade truffles.   Through modern processing techniques as well as the chemistry of chocolate’s flavors and textures, Kristie teaches you the techniques involved in making her truffles using the finest Belgian Chocolates and natural flavors.

Key Largo Chocolates, Leah Maki, Leah's Fabulous Finds

Clearly we’re not having any fun!

Key Largo Chocolates, Leah Maki, Leah's Fabulous Finds

Up to no good!

Key Largo Chocolates, Leah Maki, Leah's Fabulous Finds

I think our truffles were the best!

Key Largo Chocolates, Leah Maki, Leah's Fabulous Finds

Yes, we did have a chocolate fight just like Lucy!

Key Largo Chocolates

At the end of the class, you’re able to take home all off the truffles you make!

 

If this article has your mouthwatering, you can also pick up  your own truffles already made at their Key largo location at 100470 Overseas Highway or order them online at KeyLargoChocolates.com and have them shipped to your home.

To schedule a class, call 305.453.6613.

 

Conch Style: Fashion is Art at Miami Fashion Week

Posted on: April 4th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

A few weeks ago, I attended a four day runway-style fashion show during Miami Fashion Week. The event included the latest collections from over 60 designers from 25 countries and celebrity sightings including the Real Housewives of Miami.  The catwalk was bombarded with the Fall 2013 collections including bridal, evening wear, day wear, swimwear and children’s collections.

Miami International Fashion Week

Miami International Fashion Week

If you’ve ever been to a couture hi-end fashion show or seen photos from one, you know that fashion shows are more about art then style. They’re meant to elicit a reaction or emotion. From the way the model’s hair is worn to her makeup and even her shoes, it’s all part of the show and not typically something you’d ever wear in that same way in real life.

Each of the shows also has a different walk, different music, and different lights. Some is dark and mysterious, while others are light and happy.

One of my favorite shows was that by Kayce Armstrong of Art of Shade.  She uses utilitarian fabrics such as old tarps and sails to create edgy couture fashion.    In fashion shows, models are known for their strut, but in this show, that strut was cast aside and instead they came out in flat shoes and added a bounce in their step to a syncopated sort of rhythm identical to one another and perfectly in step with the music.  It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch and was really more of a dance than a walk, meant to highlight the movement in her designs.

Miami International Fashion Week Kayce Armstrong, Art of Shade

Fall collection by Kayce Armstrong, Art of Shade – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

In another show by Lisu Vega all the models were made to look bald and some had their entire head painted black.  This was likely meant to make it all about the designs but in this case, I found the opposite actually occurred.  The statement the designer made with the models hair and makeup took away from her beautiful collection and made it hard to really see the clothes. Is this art? Fashion? Will this ever be a trend? Probably not, but it elicited a reaction. And it was memorable. And maybe this is what the designer was going for.

Miami International Fashion Week Lisu Vega

Fall collection by Lisu Vega – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

My favorite Fall 2013 collection was from Nicolas Felizola.  His evening wear featured gowns in yellow, orange, black and white patterns, and metallics, proof that vibrant hues and head-to-toe black and white will continue to be trendy this fall.  The uniqueness of his designs was evidenced in the distinct necklines and intricate details of lace, beads and brocades.   My personal favorite was a dramatic navy lace design over a nude sheath that was a complete showstopper.

 

Fall collection by Nicolas Felizola - Image courtesy of Miami International Fashion Week

Fall collection by Nicolas Felizola – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

In the movie, Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep plays a couture fashion editor for a high-end fashion magazine that would have rivaled the likes of Vogue.  During an infamous scene, her assistant, played by Anne Hathaway, is watching the editor and a designer decide between two belts that look identical.  Meryl Streep stops when she sees her assistant laughing and says: “Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you don’t take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent…who showed cerulean military jackets … And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Couture fashion is art and inspires collections, colors and trends for years to come.  Collections people like you and I, will eventually pick up on a rack at our favorite boutique.

In fashion, be true to yourself. Wear what makes you feel good about you. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s right for you. However, don’t be afraid to express yourself.

Miamia International Fashion Week

My friend, Kara and I at the RIMMEL London booth at Miami Fashion Week!

Creativity Cultivated in Miami Beach

Posted on: April 3rd, 2013 by Leah No Comments

At times, the Florida Keys can feel so far away from the rest of the world.   Our quiet island-life is full of art and culture with an island-vibe we locals love.  But sometimes getting off the rock can be a great way to cultivate your creativity and find inspiration in new things.

A few weeks ago, I attended a four day runway-style fashion show during Miami Fashion Week. The event included the latest collections from over 60 designers from 25 countries and celebrity sightings including the Real Housewives of Miami.

There was an amazing selection of Miami based designers including, Nicolas Felizola, Julian Chang and Viviana G, who were awarded the Miami Fashion ICON Award during the show and amazingly, all three are tied to Miami, either as residents or shop owners.  The catwalk was bombarded with the Fall 2013 collections including bridal, evening wear, day wear, swimwear and children’s collections.   Nicolas Felizola’s Fall collection featured evening gowns in yellow, orange, black and white patterns, and metallics, proof that vibrant hues and head-to-toe black and white will continue to be trendy this fall.  The uniqueness of his designs were evidenced in the distinct necklines and intricate details of lace, beads and brocades.   My personal favorite was a dramatic navy lace design over a nude sheath that was a complete showstopper.

Miami International Fashion Week Nicolas Felizola Fall Collection

Miami Fashion Week Nicolas Felizola Fall Collection

Attending Miami Fashion Week made me rethink my take on Miami Beach.  I’ve always enjoyed the city but realized I take advantage of this style Mecca way too seldom considering its vicinity to the Florida Keys.  Here are a few reasons you should visit the stylish Miami Beach:

Fashion: Although you’ve missed Fashion Week (mark your calendar for March 2014), this summer, Miami Beach will host two of the fashion calendars’ highly anticipated fashion shows —the massive SwimShow, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim and FUNKSHION: Fashion Week Miami Beach.  During these events you’ll view awe-inspiring fashion shows and attend stylish events, reason enough for any fashionista to flock to Miami Beach.

Shopping: Miami Beach packs a vast selection of world renowned shops into a mere 18.7 sunny square miles, making it the ideal destination for shopping.  There are three main outdoor shopping areas in Miami Beach: Lincoln Road, Espanola Way and Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue.  Lincoln Road offers a trendy mix of boutiques including the brand new H+M, plus art galleries and great outdoor eateries for people watching.   Just a few blocks away is “Miami’s Best Block”, Espanola Way filled with European-style, pedestrian-friendly streets where you will find unique clothing and handmade jewelry not found in chain stores.   Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach offers stores ranging from Banana Republic  to Versace.  My favorite: Zara, (located at 590 Collins Ave.) is packed with innovative Spanish designs that are on-trend while still affordable.

Cultural Events: In 2013, Miami Beach will host several cultural events you won’t want to miss.
•    April 17-21 is the South Beach Comedy Festival where you can see the world’s favorite entertainers and top comedic talent from across the country.
•    April 26-28 is the Girlfriend’s Getaway Weekend for sipping, shopping, and spa-ing.  Hosted by Ocean Drive Magazine and the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, this event is the perfect weekend getaway for indulging with your girlfriends.
•    April 24-28 is the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.  Watch men riding horses on the beach and have the opportunity to get dressed up in a preppy spring look.  The international polo tournament features teams from around the world and kicks off with South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V Women’s Welcome and Cocktail Hour at the James Royal Palm.
Other upcoming events in 2013 include the American Black Film Festival, the GLBT Film Festival, White Party, Winter Party and Art Basel among many others.

The next time you take a staycation or just want to get away for a night, consider the International style hub that is Miami Beach.