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Archive for January, 2014

Grand Opening for Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Mark your calendar for Friday, January 31st for the Grand Opening and Re-Opening Party for the Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery, Seaside Glassworks and Islamorada Mercantile located at mile marker 81.9 in Islamorada.  From 5 to 8 p.m., these three wonderful  stores will be opening their doors for the public to enjoy fabulous art, great shopping, tasty treats and libations in celebration of their new locations.

This is the first art gallery and studio space for Michelle Nicole Lowe, however, her stunning tropical paintings have long been a favorite for local art collectors and Florida Keys travelers wishing to take a piece of paradise home.  Previously her work was featured in Gallery Morada.  You may also have seen her paintings on display at the Green Turtle, Islamorada Fishing Club, Third Thursday Art Walks and national art shows around the United States.

Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery featured by  Leah Maki

Michelle Nicole Lowe in her new art gallery in the Keys.

The Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery not only has her original and limited edition prints of her paintings but also great gift items with her artwork on them including: Tervis Tumblers, women’s tank tops, note cards, plates and platters, and cell phone cases.  Imagine your friends reaction when they see Michelle’s tropical fish on the cover of your phone!   In addition, you’ll also find gorgeous gemstone jewelry and one-of-a-kind oak, ash or walnut wood bangles made by artisans from around the country.  In addition, Michelle does commissioned work for those wanting a one-of-a-kind painting for their home.

Michelle’s neighbor is Seaside Glassworks, who’s expanded shop now includes a classroom for art classes.  Owner and artist, Stephanie Martin will start offering classes this spring for crafting jewelry and artwork all your own.   Within her gallery you’ll discover beautiful glass fused jewelry, drop light pendants, and wall art made from combining dichroic two-toned glass and artisan glasses.  My favorite are her one-of-a-kind pendants and earrings which have a metallic coating on its surface that reflect light and look great with everything.  As each unique piece reflects different colors depending on what you’re wearing.   This affordable, wearable art is a must for all jewelry lovers.

The final shop in this building is Islamorada Mercantile who’s new space offers an expanded selection of  resort wear for men and women.  Find easy-to-wear dresses and wardrobe staples in bright hues and patterns perfect for life in the Florida Keys.   In addition to clothing, they also offer jewelry, sun hats, gift items, big beach bags, and driftwood clocks handmade by store owners, Mike and Susan Johnson.  Each clock is constructed with driftwood found on the beach made in a style common to the Keys and Colonial Caribbean.  Each clock ranges in sizes and colors that will fit your style and space.

I hope to see you on Friday, January 31st but if you’re in the neighborhood sooner, the Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday by appointment.  Seaside Glassworks is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and Islamorada Mercantile is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Happy Shopping!


Sip & Shop Event Thursday, February 6

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

You’re invited to sip, shop and socialize during the ultimate shopping soiree. Enjoy complimentary wine and light hors d’oeuvres from Green Turtle while shopping with your girlfriends.

Buy a new outfit or a great gift for your sweetheart in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Shop local and support some of your favorite local boutiques including: Miss Monroe Boutique, uCúmbe, Seaside Glassworks, The Banyan Tree, D-Luxe Boutique, Islamorada Mercantile, Stella & Dot jewelry, and Island Decor.

When: Thursday, February 6 from 6-8 p.m.

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

Hope to see you there!


How to Dress Professionally in the Florida Keys

Posted on: January 10th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Looking professional in a hot and humid climate can be challenging.  Although our Florida Keys attire tends to be more casual than mainland office apparel, it’s still important to look professional when you’re working in an office environment.  Consider who your customer is.   Often in the Florida Keys, those customers are tourists and snowbirds from other parts of the country who have a certain expectation of what their banker, real estate agent, or attorney should look like.  Dressing inappropriately can reflect poorly on both you and your company.  If you want to be taken seriously and make a positive impression on your clients and customers, you need to dress the part.

If clothes could talk, what would they say about you?

The reality is clothes do talk and they speak volumes about who you are.  Your appearance is as essential as a well crafted resume or years of experience.  Consequently, your clothing is an important piece of your professional brand that defines who you are.  In a world that is more and more image obsessed, the first impression is largely based on your look.  Before you even articulate a sentence, assumptions are made about you based on something as miniscule as your nail color.  To impress your clients and customers, you must think about what you want your clothes to say about you.    Avoid attention getting pieces and instead focus on clothing that fits and flatters your body type.   If your clothing and shoes are in need of repair, then don’t wear them.  A pair of dirty worn out shoes would leave a customer with a negative impression.  Is that the image you want to portray?

No flip flops

Even in the Florida keys, refrain from wearing running shoes, flip-flops, and Crocs.  The rule of thumb is if you wear them to the pool or on a boat, you shouldn’t wear them to the office.  For men, loafers or topsiders  are the perfect Florida Keys footwear for casual office apparel.  Because we live in a more casual environment, nice sandals are also perfectly acceptable at the office.  If your toes are in dire need of a pedicure, don’t wear open toe shoes or sandals.  Instead, opt for loafers for men or closed toe heels for women until you can get your toes in check.

No bare shoulders

Skimpy tank tops and strapless dresses are a definite don’t for the office.  This doesn’t mean you can’t wear them, it means they need to be covered up in an office setting.  Lightweight, short sleeve or three quarter length cardigans and jackets are professional wardrobe staples which are perfect for layering over dresses and blouses.  By covering your shoulders with one of these items it will also serve to keep you warm in air-conditioned interiors and can easily be removed for a day-to-night look.

No cleavage or short skirts

Cleavage is a definite no in the office.  Not only is it best to leave a little to the imagination but showing a lot of cleavage does not gain you respect.  Likewise, short skirts are also not office appropriate.  Lord Balfour, a British nineteenth century politician said it best, “A good speech, like a woman’s skirt, should be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Skirts should hit just above or below the knee.  In addition, sleeveless tops for women are just fine but should hit right at the shoulder and not be overly revealing.

What you should wear:


  • Dresses are a girl’s best friend in the Keys.  They’ll keep you cool and can be worn with sandals, flats or heels depending on the event and your preference.
  • Look for lightweight but wrinkle resistant fabrics that won’t show sweat.  Stay away from 100% linen because of the excessive wrinkling, and silk as this fabric shows sweat marks instantly.
  • Invest in a few lightweight cardigans and jackets to pull your entire professional wardrobe together.
  • Nude heels are a must.  They go with everything and will make your legs look longer and leaner.


  • Khakis with button-down shirts are always stylish and will keep you looking polished and professional.  Try button-down shirts in a fun pattern.  Many button-down shirts have added some excitement by making the underside of the cuff an entirely different pattern.  When you flip up the cuff of your shirt, the pattern shows and can be very stylish for work apparel.
  • Polo shirts are a classic for men in the Keys.  And if you work in a more laid back office setting where shorts are permissible, a polo shirt if the perfect accoutrement.

You owe it to yourself to shine as brightly as you can.  Now it’s time to dress the part.

MacKinzie Ash expertly dresses professionally for an Islamorada Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

MacKinzie Ash expertly dresses professionally for an Islamorada Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on: January 2nd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

It’s that time of year to start thinking about the resolutions you’re going to make for 2014.  The most important thing to consider when making a new year’s resolution is to make sure it’s attainable.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t push yourself to try or do new things.  The most common New Year’s resolutions typically have to do with weight loss, quitting bad habits and making positive changes to better our lives.  As an alternative, decide that this year will be your most stylish ever.  Explore new looks, break bad style habits, and be honest with yourself about what really looks good on you.  Make 2014 the year that you present the best version of yourself.

Explore New Looks

The global color authority, Pantone, announced that Radiant Orchid will be the 2014 color of the year.   This exotic purple tone exudes warmth and is the perfect addition to your wardrobe.   This spring try shirts, shorts, or fashion accessories in this color.  Pair a radiant orchid sundress with teal, turquoise or light yellow accessories for a fabulous spring look.   In addition, this vibrant color will also liven up neutrals such as gray, beige and white.  It can be scary to try color, but this tone looks great on every skin tone and is ideal for the Florida Keys where bright colors surround us through our tropical landscape and turquoise waters.  It’s time to embrace color to complement our beautiful surroundings.

Break Bad Style Habits

Throw Away Your Fanny Pack.

Having all your important belongings in a safe and secure pouch tied to your waist is convenient.  However, adding 10 pounds to your stomach is absolutely unflattering.  With fashion, the goal is to accentuate your best assets and a fanny pack just adds dimension to an area most would like to appear slimmer.

If you’re like me,  you thought the fanny pack was a bad trend that died in the 90’s. However, one trip to the state fair or an amusement park will prove that the fanny pack is alive and thriving.  Did I mention it’s called a fanny pack?  Why on earth would you want to own something that refers to a person’s buttocks?  In 2014, make a resolution to rid your closet of all unflattering, out-of-date clothing.  Although, I am normally a promoter of donating all items we no longer are using, donating a fanny pack is like giving someone the flu.  It’s just not right to pass it on.  Let’s get rid of the fanny pack once and for all.  Throw it away.

Wear the Right Socks for the Right Shoes

After moving to the Keys, I found that socks are a rarity.  There are very few opportunities to even wear them unless heading to the gym or heading North to visit family.  However, I’ve recently witnessed a resurgence in the Keys where people are wearing socks with …SANDALS!?!  Yes, it’s true.  I’ve seen it with my own two eyes and I lived to tell the tale.  So here is a little education on the proper socks to wear with their corresponding shoes.  Athletic shoes require the use of athletic socks.  They provide a thicker cushion for ample protection from rubbing and blisters.  Most loafers worn in the Keys are worn with shorts, therefore, no socks are needed.  When wearing black dress shoes and black dress pants, you may want to wear socks.  What color you ask?  Black socks will create a seamless look so that when you sit, we won’t be staring at your ankles wondering why you’re wearing white athletic socks to a business function or formal affair.  Back to the socks with sandals.  This baffles my mind.  Is it because you’re cold?  Then why are you wearing sandals at all?

The rule of thumb with socks is white shoes=white socks, black shoes=black socks and if you’re a little adventurous, try a fun pattern like argyle.  Just make sure that the undertone follows the rule above.

The best version of yourself is begging to make an appearance.  That means fanny pack and socks with sandals are no more.  Vow to break those bad fashion habits you’ve been making in your wardrobe.  Get rid of items that have had their day and are not longer looking complementary on your body.  Pay attention to what outfits you’re wearing when given compliments and find more looks that help you achieve your very best.

Happy New Year!  May 2014 be your most fabulous yet.