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Archive for the ‘Shopping in the Florida Keys’ Category

Back to School

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

The start of the school year is always such a fun time of year.  Although it marks the end of summer, it also marks the start of a new chapter for our kids.  After weeks of preparing for the start of school with shopping trips for new clothes and school supplies, attending orientation, and meeting the teacher, our kids are finally ready for their first day of school.

My favorite moments are the first day of school pictures on social media.  Some kids are smiling, some kids are sulking, and some won’t even turn around for the picture (after all they are in high school now). But the best is the reaction of the parents to the start of the year.  Some moms shed tears as they reminisce about years gone by, some moms exhale a sigh of relief that they made it through a very long summer, and some moms celebrate with cocktails and pool parties now that they finally have the house all to themselves.

Whatever your reaction to the start of the school year, below are a few tips to get you feeling more like yourself:

Schedule Time for You

Finding time for you can be a challenge during an active and fun-filled summer, but now that the kids are back in their routines, it’s time to focus a little more attention on you.  Whether you schedule coffee dates with your girlfriends or attend a class at the gym, find time each week to rejuvenate.

Shop the Summer Sales


You’ve spent weeks shopping for your kids, now it’s time for a little retail therapy all for you.  August is the best time to buy summer apparel that most retailers are clearing out.  Since we wear summer clothing pretty much all year long, take advantage of the sales and shop for swimsuits, shorts, dresses, and sandals at a fraction of the cost.

Shop Fall Basics

Although our fall-like weather is still months away, many of the major retailers have just added fall apparel such as jeans, jackets, and boots to their merchandise.  Consider what trips you may be going on this winter that may “require” a new pair of boots.  Remember that we do have a few cold days in the Keys so your items certainly won’t go unworn.

Pamper You

Recharge with a massage or pedicure just for you.  Better yet, plan a spa day with your girlfriends to really relax and unwind.  Every mom (and parent) deserves to take a little time for themselves. Whether its reading a good book, going to the spa, or taking a bubble bath, make time to pamper you.


Wedding Etiquette

Posted on: July 7th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

I recently read an article from an upset bride who wrote into an advice column on slate.com.  Her dilemma was whether to continue being friends with the best man of their wedding who proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the ceremony.  How could this best man have chosen that moment to propose to his girlfriend – a moment that the bride and groom had planned for months and that should have been solely theirs?  Apparently, no one ever told him about wedding etiquette.

As we approach the height of wedding season, here are few thoughts to help you with what to do and what not to do as a wedding guest.


When you receive your invitation, look for the reply card and the “due date”. This is the date the couple is requesting to know whether you are or are not attending.   This date is important as most venues require couples to commit to a specific number of attendees by a specific date.  So be sure to send in your RSVP as soon as possible.

DO NOT assume you can bring a date

If you are invited to bring a date, the invitation will be addressed to you and guest.  This is important, as many couples must stay under a certain number of people to stay within their budget.  If you are invited solo, find out who else is attending and plan your accommodations and transportation together.  If you’re too uncomfortable to attend alone, then decline the invitation.  But whatever you do, do not ask the couple if you can bring a date.  If they could afford to have you plus a guest, they would have addressed the invitation that way.

DO bring a gift

As with any gift, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s the thought that counts.  There is no minimum or maximum amount that should be spent, just consider your budget and your relationship to the couple when purchasing the gift.  Most couples will register for items they would like to start their life together.  If you’re not sure where they’ve registered, try googling their names and its likely their registry will appear.  Shop early for the best selection and ship it directly to the couple’s house.  This will save you the hassle of hauling the gift to the ceremony and will save the couple from having to get it home.

Do be on time

Yes, it’s true that most weddings start late, but you shouldn’t be.  Plan to be there at least 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony and be sure to use the restroom before it starts so you won’t need to make an untimely exit.

DO NOT wear white

White and ivory are reserved for the bride on her wedding day.  Plan your outfit while adhering to the dress code.    In most cases, the invitation will denote the dress code for the celebration.  If not, look at the time of day and venue as an indication on what to wear.  It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed so even if the wedding is casual, choose a dress or skirt to celebrate the occasion.

DO NOT post photos to social media

The bride and groom have hired photographers and videographers to capture the day and night. And many places of worship prohibit the use of phones or cameras during a religious ceremony. If you feel you absolutely must take photos of the bride and groom, wait until the reception and then be sure to get the couples’ permission before posting them to social media. Better yet, turn off your phone and be there in the moment.  Let the professional photographer and videographer capture you celebrating with the bride and groom.

And finally,

DO celebrate

Weddings are a time for celebration so be sure to wear your dancing shoes and socialize with other guests.  Although you should have fun, DO NOT get drunk.  An open bar does not mean you should become overserved.  One drink too many and you could create a lasting impression on the couple and all their guests.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Posted on: June 13th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day can be tough.  This Father’s Day, thank Dad with a gift a little different.  Below is a list of gift ideas to help you spoil all the Dads in your life.

Customize Dad’s YETI

Every dad deserves the best in life and what better way to help him enjoy all of life’s moments than with a YETI rambler that will keep his drink chilled to perfection. If your dad doesn’t already have a YETI rambler, it’s high time you get them a personal drink cooler to keep their beverages ice cold for hours. Customize his new cup of choice at Otherside Boardsports with customized stickers or etching to make sure his YETI stays his.  Consider adding his nickname, the name of his boat, or a note about his #1 Dad status. YETI ramblers start at $39, stickers start at $15 and etching starts at $25 at Otherside Boardsports at 82758 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Amp Up Dad’s Grillin’ Game

Redefine how dad barbecues with the ultimate outdoor gas grill.  Swiss Grills are built to last and offer a lifetime warranty.   Made of stainless steel (so they won’t rust), they also feature a commercial grade rotisserie, signature bottle opener, Swiss style thermometer, and room for both big meat and small.  Ideal for the dad who loves to entertain and cook.  Starting at $1,299 at AmeriGas at 86400 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Help Dad with His Style

Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters in Islamorada is selling Simms fishing gear and apparel.  This esteemed brand offers everything from waiters and rain gear to sun shirts and board shorts.  Their guide shirts are both technical and attractive and are available in an array of stylish prints and colors that can be worn on the boat or to dinner.  In addition to being great quality, most of Simms apparel also offers sun protection of SPF 50.  Head to Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters at 82240 Overseas Highway in Islamorada to peruse their large selection of Simms fishing and lifestyle apparel to get dad looking stylish on shore and out on the water.

Simms Lifestyle Shirt

Simms Lifestyle Shirt

Help Dad with His Hygiene

At the new Drift Boutique at 86560 Overseas Highway in Islamorada they carry a men’s skincare line called Whiskey Ink and Lace.  These handcrafted all natural products include beard balm, aftershave, shampoo bars and cologne in rustic scents called The Pirate, The Viking and The Gent.  Stop into this high-end gift shop to check out their Whiskey, Ink and Lace products for dad and perhaps pick-up a little something for yourself.  The handmade jewelry, clothing and python cuffs are amazing.  Open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Whiskey Ink and Lace products are perfect for dad

Get Dad Out on the Water

Get dad out on the water enjoying one of his favorite pastimes with the ultimate fishing paddleboard.  The new design of Live Watersports L2Fish stand-up paddle board allows paddlers to enjoy a range of activities including fishing, windsurfing, hunting and even camping.  This board utilizes a catamaran style hull and hollow core construction for maximum buoyancy.  The L2Fish paddleboard is available at Otherside Boardsports in Islamorada for $2,299.

Live Watersports L2Fish Stand Up Paddle Board is perfect for fishing

Give Dad the Gift that Keeps on Giving

The best gifts don’t cost a thing.  All dad really wants is quality time with you.  Spend the day with him doing one of his favorite pastimes be it playing cards, enjoying a backyard barbecue or playing out on the water.

No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.   Happy Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

It’s time to celebrate all the special mom’s in your life on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14.  Finding the perfect gift for the most important women in your life can be a difficult feat.  It’s a gift that should portray your thanks, love and appreciation for all that they do.   Show your mom, mother-in-law and wife how much you appreciate them on Mother’s Day with a thoughtful gift that will tell them just how important they are.

Here are some gift ideas to make Mother’s Day extra special this year.

Thoughtful Card

The simplest form of gratitude comes straight from the heart.   A handmade card with a heartfelt message is easily the best gift any mother could receive.  And the only thing it will cost you is a little time.  By including the kids in the design and message, this card will be a gift she will treasure for years to come.

Cabana Life Women's Rashguard from Wear With All Boutique in Key Largo

Cabana Life Women’s Rashguard from Wear With All Boutique in Key Largo

Dress Her Up

Easy-to-wear clothing that is both chic and practical is hard to find.  The brand Cabana Life makes swimwear, rash guards, pants and dresses in bright patterns and colors that mom will love.  Not only are they great for keeping her cool in our warm Florida Keys weather but their high-quality SPF 50 fabric will also protect her from the sun.  Whether she’s lounging, paddle boarding or going out for a night on the town, Cabana Life clothing has something for everyone.  Starting at just $80, this great brand of clothing can be found at Wear With All Boutique in Key Largo in the Publix Tradewinds Plaza at 101487 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.

Pamper Mom

Pamper mom on her day by giving her a trip to the spa to get a manicure, pedicure, massage, facial or a new cut and color. A gift certificate to her favorite salon and spa is always a nice treat.  But, if you want to make it extra special, schedule a spa day with her for some quality time.  At Blu Bamboo Salon and Spa in Islamorada, manicures start $20 and are offered with a glass of wine.  In addition, the week before Mother’s Day, Blu Bamboo Salon and Spa is offering 20% off all products in their shop with free gift wrapping available.  Stop into Blu Bamboo at 82205 Overseas Highway for bubble bath and gift certificates to pamper your mom for Mother’s Day.

Posh Naturals Skin Care Resveratrol Peptide 2 in 1 Complex

Posh Her Skin

Give mom a gift that will make her feel and look even more beautiful.  Posh Naturals Skin Care is a natural and organic skin care company based in the Florida Keys that has created an amazing skin care line perfect for all the women in your life.  Their Resveratrol Peptide 2 in 1 Cream acts as a light everyday moisture with anti-oxidant and anti-aging benefits that stimulate collagen production and alleviate fine lines.  Resveratrol Peptide 2 in 1 Cream is available for $80 at Key Largo Salon and Spa in the Pink Plaza at 103400 Overseas Highway.  Go to PoshNaturalsSkinCare.com to preview their entire skin care line.

Custom Orchid Arrangements by Banyan Tree in Islamorada


Flowers are a wonderful way to tell your mother how special she is.  A bouquet of roses, tulips or lilies are perfect for Mother’s Day and the fragrant spring-like aroma will be sure to make her smile.  But if you’re looking for something more one-of-a-kind, opt for a potted orchid that will last longer and let mom know just how unique she is.  A custom arrangement of these exotic blooms starts at just $25 and are made to order at any price range at the Banyan Tree Garden and Boutique.  Call 305.664.3433 to order or stop by their location at 81197 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Wishing you all a Happy Mother’s Day!


Summer Essentials

Posted on: April 22nd, 2017 by Leah No Comments

On Thursday, April 27th Islamorada will be turning up the heat at the Sizzling Summer Fashion Show at The Village Square at Trading Post. The fashion show will feature summer must-haves from Miss Monroe Boutique, D-Luxe Boutique, Island Trendz Boutique, and Otherside Boardsports.  Below is a preview of the summer wardrobe essentials that will be highlighted on the runway.

Chic Cover-Ups

Summer clothing should made up of light-weight materials in sweat proof fabrics that will keep you cool all summer long. An ideal cover-up is versatile and will take you from boat mate to lunch date without much effort.  The Echo New York line of cover-ups at Miss Monroe Boutique are an essential for every fashionista’s wardrobe.  Offered in vibrant, colorful prints in lightweight fabrics with beautiful tassel and pom pom trim that will have you looking effortlessly chic no matter where you wear it.  Available from $48 to $78 at Miss Monroe Boutique at 81868 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Echo New York Cover Ups from Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada

Echo New York Cover Ups from Miss Monroe Boutique

Attention Grabbing Details

This summer it is all about the details with statement making tops. Whether you bare the cold shoulder, rock the one-shoulder or brave the off the shoulder, be sure to reveal your neckline and arms this summer.  Also, look for unique necklines with strappy crisscross accents and statement sleeves with ruffles and exaggerated bell sleeves to highlight your soon-to-be summer glow.  Attention grabbing summer dresses and tops range from $25 to $35 at D-Luxe Boutique at 80925 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Chic Fishing Apparel

Grundens is a brand known for its commercial fishing apparel worn by anglers since 1911.  But their new line of men’s fishing apparel is getting a major upgrade.  Grundens still offers the same high performance product but now a bit more fashion forward.  Their high-quality button down performance shirts are versatile, water-resistant, and 50 UPF, with quick drying fabric and 4-way stretch for optimal movement and comfort. Island Trendz is now carrying this chic fishing apparel line in shorts and performance shirts that can easily be worn for the boat or to casual dinners in the Keys.  Prices range from $55 to $95 and can be found at Island Trendz Boutique within the Amara Cay Resort at 80001 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Upcycled Swimwear by MG Surfline from Otherside Boardsports in Islamorada

Upcycled Swimwear by MG Surfline from Otherside Boardsports in Islamorada

Upcycled Swimwear

The ethical and sustainable fashion movement has gained steam in recent years with major swimwear brands debuting collections made entirely from recycled materials.  Otherside Boardsports is carrying several swimwear lines that are environmentally friendly.  Volcom uses old fishing nets to create their women’s swimwear, MG Surfline uses recycled plastic bottles to create their water wear, and Vissla uses discarded coconut husks to create men’s board shorts.  Protect marine life and the future of our oceans by opting for sustainable swimwear that has been upcycled.  Men’s board shorts range from $45 to $59 and women’s separates start at $39 and are available at Otherside Boardsports at 82758 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Join me on Thursday, April 27th for the 4th Annual Sizzling Summer Fashion Show to see some beautiful summer fashions for the Florida Keys from some of your favorite local boutiques.  The gates and pop-up shops will open at 6 p.m. with the fashion show starting at 7:30 p.m. and will include complimentary drinks, taco bar from Bad Boy Burrito, and summer tunes by DJ Marissa Sardar. Tickets are $25. Purchase your tickets at participating stores or call 305.440.3951 for more information. Hope to see you there!

Spring Fashion Trends

Posted on: March 6th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Spring is upon us which means it’s time to give your wardrobe a refresh.  If you’re done traveling to cooler weather destinations, move your warmer apparel to the back of the closet and rotate your spring and summer clothing to the front.  Before packing away sweaters and coats, wash or dry clean items so they are ready for next season.

When trying a new trend, make sure they’ll blend easily into your current wardrobe.  Before buying a new item, envision three outfits the new piece can be worn with.  If you can only think of one, then let it go as you’ll get minimal wear out of it and it will spend more time hanging in your closet than being worn.

Below are a few of the hottest trends for spring to get your wardrobe ready for the season.

Hot pink, statement sleeves and bold ear candy from Delpozo Spring 2017

Hot pink, statement sleeves and bold ear candy from Delpozo Spring 2017

All Things Pink

At the top of my list for spring must-haves is hot pink.  Girly girls will rejoice this season as the color is making a major statement from bright fuschia to dusty rose, pretty in pink is the unofficial color of the season. Break out all your prettiest pinks this spring for casual outings to the beach and more formal evening occasions.

Statement Sleeves
The cold shoulder was big in 2016, but this season, statement sleeves ranged from eighties inspired puffball sleeves, single shoulder cutouts, flouncy ruffles, bell sleeves, and voluminous rounded shoulders.  This spring it’s all about proportion with lots of attention on your arms. Look for blouses, shirt dresses and knitwear with lots of sleeve style.

Graphic Stripes

Nautical stripes are a spring staple typically found in bright whites and classic navy.  This season stripes are bright and bold in criss-cross patterns, vibrant geometric prints, and rainbow-bright hues.  Stripes are no longer your classic basic, they’ve received a jolt of energy in graphic primary colors that stand all on their own.  Pair these bold prints with minimal accessories to let the pattern take center stage.


Sequins and metallics are usually reserved for holidays and New Year’s Eve parties but this spring, designers are loving head-to-toe gold and silver.  For a modern feel, pair a metallic skirt with a graphic stripe or bright floral pattern along with chic sneakers for a more casual look.


Florals are a classic must-have for spring, but this season gives blossom prints a seventies spin with bright contrast hues such as pink, orange and green in feminine silhouettes.  If you’re wearing head-to-toe floral with a bright dress, opt for classic accessories such as a metallic or neutral sandal or wedge.


Atheisure got a sexy upgrade this season with body hugging knits that outline every curve.  Leggings are another classic sportswear that’s been reinvented this season.  This ready-to-wear basic was found on the runway in velvet, lace and spandex for a high fashion feel.  And don’t forget about the hoodie.  You’ll find hoodies on jackets, vests and shirts for a laid-back feel.

Statement Earrings

Over-the-top ear candy is everywhere this spring.  These statement-makers are the accessory of the season.  Go big or go home this spring when it comes to your ears.  Pair these decadent, brightly colored earrings with a simple romper and sandals for a chic look.

Happy Shopping!

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Every year on February 14, Valentine’s Day is celebrated between loved ones and friends.  Outside the United States, Valentine’s Day is observed in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.  The first valentine was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was a prisoner in the Towner of London.  The poem read:

I am already sick of love

My very gentle Valentine…

Although a bit somber compared to the joyous and love-filled cards of today, the Duke appears to have been quite the romantic, writing over 60 love poems to his wife over his 25-year imprisonment.

Today, Valentine’s Day is marked by the exchange of cards and gifts.  The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend $18.2 billion in celebration of this holiday and the Greeting Card Association estimates more than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.  Although the gifts of cards, candy, flowers, jewelry and dinner out is always a great way to celebrate this holiday, below are a few suggestions for showing your love in a different way.


In lieu of a traditional gift, make a donation to a worthy cause on behalf of your significant other.  There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the Keys doing amazing work and they are always in need of more funds to help those in need.


Those same organizations also need volunteers to help achieve their mission.  Spend a few hours with your love doing good is sure to provide lots of good vibes and natural highs.  Also, the best gift is the gift of spending quality time together.


Get the kids involved and create your own valentines, art work and love poems.  These are the type of valentines that you’ll remember and that your family will treasure for years to come.

Shop Local

By shopping local, you help support local businesses in Monroe County.  When you shop local, more of your money stays closer to home building stronger communities by creating jobs, funding community services through sales tax, and investing in neighborhood improvement.  Local businesses also support our local services by donating to our Florida Keys not-for-profits through sponsorships, donations, and silent auctions items.  Your dollars really do go farther when you spend them locally.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

The Love of Vintage

Posted on: January 17th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

My love of vintage started after my grandmother died and lovingly bequeathed her vintage jewelry to me.  I can remember playing with her earrings, necklaces, and brooches as a child. I was fascinated by the bright colors, sparkling gems and unique compilations of her vintage baubles.  Each piece seemed to have its own story and to this day, I love wearing her jewelry knowing she had worn them a lifetime before.

Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert and is credited with making white a popular color for wedding attire.

Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert and is credited with making white a popular color for wedding attire.

Since then, my love of vintage has grown and my own collection now includes vintage clothing, evening clutches, fur collars, and costume jewelry.  For my wedding, I wore a vintage veil and feather headpiece formerly worn by a professional ballroom dancer in the 1940’s.  This timeless piece was my “something old” in the adage guiding brides to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” on their wedding day.  And it remains one of my most prized possessions.

Leigh Anne Brown is also an avid vintage collector who began collecting vintage clothing more than 20 years ago.  Her passion for vintage led her to start collecting vintage wedding dresses to which she has amassed more than 75 dresses from different decades.  What is most unique about her collection is that the dresses represent the average American bride.  They are not elaborate, they instead demonstrate what was happening politically and culturally that affected the styles of that time.

For Leigh Anne, the art of the dress is as important as the history of each piece.  Her oldest dresses are from 1890 and show the transition from Victorian style.  Others reflect the sociopolitical issues of the time such as during World War II – when zippers were not used because they were made into bullets.

Through Leigh Anne’s collection, you see the progression and evolution of women by each decade.  The dresses are not changing shapes and styles simply because a designer changed the silhouette.  A woman’s choice on her wedding day is influenced by economics, politics, war, education, family and societal expectations.

On Friday, January 27 the Florida Keys chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host a luncheon at the Hilton Key Largo Resort where Leigh Anne Brown will speak about the History of Fashion.  She’ll have 25 wedding gowns on display from her collection sharing stories of each bride, demonstrating how politics, economics, and education have shaped women’s wedding gown choices throughout history.

Tickets are $50.  Call 443-631-2551 for more information or RSVP to FLKEYSDAR@gmail.com.


Celebrating the Holidays in Style

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Tis the season for cookie baking, tree decorating, and Christmas caroling.  It’s also the season for party planning, menu prepping, and all around celebrating.  There is no better time of year for getting together with friends and family while counting your many blessings.  To help you get into the holiday spirit, I’ve prepared a few tips to help you turn up the sparkle this holiday season.

Get Dressed Up

Glitter, gold and everything bold should be your mantra this holiday season. In the Florida Keys, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to get dressed up but the holidays are a perfect time to do so.  Accessories are a great way to sparkle over the holidays.  Add some statement necklaces with extra bling or a sequin clutch bag to your holiday party attire.  Instead of an LBD, look for flirty dresses in metallic shades for a glammed up look.  My favorite bold accessory is lipstick.  The holidays are a great time to try a new shade in a deep burgundy wine or bold red.  Although Keys Casual is the norm, I believe its always better to be over dressed than under – so go for it!

Come Bearing Gifts

Attending the many fetes this time of year will certainly put you in the festive spirit, but it also means finding the perfect hostess gifts. Your best bet is to always have a few things on-hand so as not to show up empty-handed.  In lieu of a bottle of wine, opt for a bottle of champagne which is more special and festive.  I always keep a few bottles of champagne in the fridge as life’s great moments should always be celebrated with a toast and some bubbly.

For a more unique gift, opt for a Christmas ornament for your host.  Shell World in Key Largo carries an array of ornaments that are both traditional and Florida Keys themed.  I love to gift high heeled shoe ornaments for my fashionista friends and beachy Santa ornaments to my friends up north.  I know each year when they see that ornament, they’ll think of me and the friendship we share.

Key Largo Chocolates

Key Largo Chocolates

Another great hostess gift can be found at Key Largo Chocolates.  Buy a box of handmade truffles in decadent flavors including Key Lime, Sea Salt Caramel and Caribbean spice. These chocolates are sure to be the gift the hostess will enjoy the most.  If you’re traveling over the holidays, I highly recommend bringing a box with you to your destination.  Your host will be grateful for the delicious treat.


Holiday Spirits

If you’re hosting a party, serve a festive themed drink as guests arrive.  Or if you prefer your holiday drinks made to order, head to Old Tavernier Restaurant and have them shake up a Candy Cane or Christmas Thyme martini.

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Christmas Thyme Martini Recipe from Old Tavernier

Frist, you’ll want to make your Rosemary Thyme simple syrup.  Boil 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary, 6 sprigs thyme and then let steep 10 minutes to dissolve sugar.

Mix ½ oz. of your rosemary thyme simple syrup with 4 oz. vodka and 1 oz. cranberry juice.

Shake, then strain into sugar rimmed Martini glass. Top with Prosecco or champagne and garnish with cranberries on a rosemary sprig.

Cheers and happy holidays!


My Favorite Things

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

It’s that time of year to pick out a few special gifts for your family and friends.  Holiday shopping can seem stressful but remember that these gifts are meant to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life.  No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.

When considering which gifts to purchase this year, I decided to create my own favorite things list for some holiday inspiration.  I have a few hard-to-buy-for people in my life that make gift buying a challenge.  When considering gifts for these people, I opt for experiences.  After all, life isn’t about the things we have, its about the stories and things we’ve experienced.


Here are a few of my favorite things.

  1. Celebrations are meant to be enjoyed with champagne and there is no time better to enjoy bubbles than over the holidays.  Head to Corks & Curds, the new wine shop and wine bar in Key Largo with gourmet cheese and meats, wines by the glass, and a great selection of wine and champagne.  Also, be sure to check their event schedule, as they frequently host tasting events.
  2. One-of-a-kind handmade jewelry. If you’re looking for something unique for those on your holiday list, head to Peace of Tibet at their new location next to Chef Michael’s at 81661 Old Highway in Islamorada for gorgeous handcrafted jewelry by Renzen Dekiy.
  3. Key lime pie with meringue. The key lime pie from the Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier is simply the best and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  They were voted by travelers on TripAdvisor as having the best key lime pie in the Florida Keys!  Consider key lime pie as a hostess gift for your next holiday party or pick-up some of their sweet key lime candies for stocking stuffers.
  4. Embrace your inner artist. Head to uCumbe Boutique in Islamorada for an array of adult coloring books sure get the creative juices flowing.  In addition, The Banyan Tree in Islamorada offers group paint sessions on Wednesday evenings.  Bring a beverage and $25 to paint.  Fun for you and as a way to celebrate the holidays with friends.
  5. Hazelnut Lattes. Café Moka makes the best hazelnut lattes.  Their extra large mugs and comfortable chairs are divine for lazy Saturday mornings.  Don’t skip the pastries and if you stay long enough for lunch, make sure to try the Prosciutto Brie sandwiches. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
  6. Red lipstick. Feeling put together is a struggle when you’re raising a toddler. Applying red lipstick makes me feel instantly fabulous.  My favorite is NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio- full bodied red.  Its stays in place for most of the day and its skinny tube makes for easy application.  If you’ve yet to go red, its time to try this festive color.
  7. Sunset on the boat. When friends and family visit, we always try to help them experience the best of the Florida Keys. Taking in a sunset from the boat is pretty spectacular.  If you’re looking for gift ideas for your relatives, send them a picture of a sunset and a nice bottle of wine and let them now that your gift includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a sunset by boat on their next visit.
  8. Fabulous sunglasses. Sunglasses get a lot of wear in the Florida Keys so why not find a few pairs that are big, bold and in a fun color.  After all, a girl can never have too many accessories.  Head to Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada for a variety of pairs for you and those on your list.
  9. Luxurious soaps that smell great, leave my hands soft and don’t cost a fortune. Stop into Morada Pure for their organic liquid castile soap in your choice of scent including lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon + mint and key lime.
  10. Family and Friends. This time of year, I’m always incredibly thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  My husband and 15-month old son are my two favorite people and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.

I hope my list of favorite things gave you some gift ideas.  If you’re still stumped on what to buy, try making your own favorite things list.  There is nothing more fun than receiving the gift of trying a new place or new experience recommended by someone you love.

Happy Holidays.