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Archive for the ‘Key West Shops’ Category

Planning Ahead for What to Wear

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Dressing up is synonymous with celebrating. In the words of Rachel Zoe, “It’s what differentiates the cork-popping moments from the everyday routine of our lives.” With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start forging a plan for what you will be wearing to all of the festivities. From holiday parties with friends, to work functions, to family celebrations, each event means a different outfit. By creating a plan for what you will be wearing, you will ensure you won’t be stuck wearing the same black dress you wore last year. Very few holiday celebrations happen spontaneously so save on the stress and make a plan now for looking your best.

Identify what you already have

First, go through your closet and look at what you already own and what needs repairs. Do you own a party dress that still fits you well and looks fabulous? Do you have work appropriate apparel that can be worn for holiday celebrations with your colleagues? Are your dress-up shoes in need of a shine, polish or being reheeled? If so, now is the time to do so. You will also want to check on whether you own the right accessories and undergarments. Often the clothes hanging in our closet that have yet to be worn are hanging there because you still don’t own the right strappy heels to go with the dress.   Here is a list of some of the things you should own: an LBD, a formal cocktail dress in a color other than black, a sweater, wrap, or jacket that could be worn over a dress or skirt for warmth and for more conservative work functions, an evening bag, and glamorous jewelry.

Is there a Dress Code?

Before deciding what to wear, be sure you know the dress code. New Year’s Eve celebrations and holiday weddings both tend to demand more formal attire. If you’re not sure of the dress code, consider the venue and the time of day. Evening events will always be more formal in nature. The Florida Keys are typically more relaxed when it comes to dress codes, however, the holidays are the perfect excuse to break out your sequined shoes and fabulous LBD. It’s never a bad thing to be the most glamorous person in the room.

Reinvent a Look

Stylish women know the art of reinventing a look with chic accessories. If you always wear your LBD with the same heels and jewelry, it may be time to swap in a new bold necklace and matching heels to make the same basic dress look a bit different.   Suzette Kelly in Key West creates beautiful handmade jewelry perfect for dressing up your holiday look. All of her creations are handmade with sterling silver, 14 karat gold, semiprecious stones, and Swarovski crystal. Locally, you can find Suzette’s one-of-a-kind jewelry at Wanderlust Boutique at 310 Petronia Street in Key West. Open Monday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4.

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Dressing up is an opportunity to show another side of you. The most important thing to remember is that you need to feel comfortable and fabulous in what you are wearing. With a well thought plan, you can be the life of the party instead of worrying about what you are wearing.

Summer Fashion Essentials

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

The forever summer weather in the Florida Keys likely have most tourists wondering what could possibly be different about our “summer” wardrobe. However, we locals understand that summer means even lighter-weight materials in sweat proof fabrics that will keep us cool for the hot months ahead. Here are several wardrobe essentials for you to add to your closet the sweltering season ahead.

Bright Clutch

Let your accessories make the statement this summer with a bright hued or patterned clutch. Add a clutch to a basic ensemble such as a black dress or shorts and t-shirt for a pop of color. Try switching up your normal go to handbag by swapping it for a clutch for day. It’s a amazing what a cute clutch will do to make you feel more confident about what you’re wearing. Waters Edge Gift Cottage at 95175 Overseas Highway in Key Largo has a great assortment of summer clutches priced at around $30.

Statement Clutches found at Waters Edge Gift Cottage in Key Largo.

Statement Clutches found at Waters Edge Gift Cottage in Key Largo.


In the Florida Keys, sunglasses are a fashion accessory that gets worn daily. It’s also an accessory that you can never have enough of. All that wear makes them easy to lose, scratch, and break. So if you find a pair of sunglasses you love, buy more than one pair. I love buying sunglasses in multiple styles and colors to match to my outfit of the day. Miss Monroe Boutique located at 81868 Overseas Highway in Islamorada at the Village Square at Trading Post shopping area has a great selection of sunglasses in a variety of shapes and colors and range from $18-$24. At that price you can afford to buy one of each!

Fabulous sunglasses found at Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada.

Fabulous sunglasses found at Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada.


New sandals are a summer must have. I love updating my wardrobe with a fun new print, style or color.   D-Luxe Boutique carries a variety of styles in neon pink, white and black with gold accents and wedge sandals for dressier occasions. Summer is also a good time to review the sandals already in your closet. If they’re falling apart it may be time to replace them. Shop D-Luxe Boutique at 80925 Overseas Highway in Islamorada. Sandals start at $18 and everything in the store is under $50.


Affordable sandals in bright colors and patterns from D-Luxe Boutique

Affordable sandals in bright colors and patterns from D-Luxe Boutique

Bold Statement Jewelry

Most summer fashions tend to have simpler designs for easy wear in warmer weather. Shorts worn with tank tops and long solid colored maxi dresses need a statement necklace to create interest your ensemble. If you don’t already own a few, consider investing in one. If you wear a lot of blue, then try finding one in yellow or turquoise to add another color to your outfit. Terra Nova located at 712 Duval Street in Key West carries of line of jewelry called Nature Bijoux made out of natural components such as coral, leather and zebu horn. Ranging from $48-$325, this jewelry line is meant to start a conversations as when worn, everyone will be asking about your beautiful jewelry.

Origins Necklace by Nature Bijoux

Origins Necklace by Nature Bijoux

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are the most comfortable summer staple. They aren’t too fitted so will keep you cool and in breezy light-weight fabrics are comfortable year round. Maxi dresses also have the added benefit of looking effortless. Pair one with wedges and a clutch for a night out or wear it with sandals and a statement necklace for day.   Wild Lily Boutique located at 81933 Overseas Highway in Islamorada has an abundance of maxi dresses available this summer in a variety of colors, prints and textures.

Mara Hoffman Maxi Dress available at Wild Lily Boutique in Islamorada

Mara Hoffman Maxi Dress available at Wild Lily Boutique in Islamorada


Sizzling Summer Fashion Show

On Thursday, May 22nd The Village Square at the Trading Post will host the Sizzling Summer Fashion Show featuring summer fashions from Miss Monroe, Wild Lily and D-Luxe Boutique. The event will start at 6 p.m. with the fashion show starting at 8 p.m. and will include a complimentary champagne bar, mojito bar, cigar lounge and cigar roller, light hors d’hoeuvres by Bad Boy Burrito and lots of free giveaways. Tickets are available for $30 and are limited. This is a great opportunity to see some beautiful summer fashions for the Florida Keys from some of your favorite local boutiques. You can buy tickets at Miss Monroe, Wild Lily or D-Luxe Boutique. Hope to see you there!



Shop Conscientiously This Holiday Season

Posted on: November 18th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to start thinking about the type of gifts you’ll be giving. It’s also equally as important to think about where those gifts are made. Are they eco friendly? Do they support local businesses? Our purchasing decisions affect our community and the environment and what better time to be “thoughtful” than around the holidays.

Shop Local

Have you considered buying all of your holiday gifts from local merchants? By shopping local you can build a stronger economy and support local businesses in Monroe County this holiday season. 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. For a list of where to shop local, go to my blog: LeahsFabulousFinds.com where you’ll find past Conch Style columns where I’ve featured a wide array of local boutiques. Just click on the category, Florida Keys Shopping for a full list.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a product certification system that identifies products that meet agreed environmental, labor, and developmental standards. Many products that meet these standards will use the Fair Trade marking on their products to let consumers know that their product was not made through child labor or unhealthy labor conditions. Fair Trade products range from apparel and linens to coffee, teas and chocolates.

Vintage, Recycled, and Eco-Friendly Gifts

Give an eco-friendly gift by buying a product that has been made from something that was destined for the garbage or landfill. You can find recycled wine bottles that have been made into candles and platters and recycled bike chains that have been made into bottle openers and bowls. Vintage products are another type of eco-friendly product because they are being recycled and are not longer mass produced. Vintage gifts have storied pasts and are usually a very special gift because of its uniqueness.

Green Pineapple Key West Boutique

Go to the Green Pineapple in Key West to shop local and buy fair trade, recycled and eco-friendly gifts.

Looking for a store that has it all? Go to the Green Pineapple at 1130 Duval Street in Key West where you’ll be able to shop local and buy fair trade, organic, vintage, recycled and eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list. The Green Pineapple’s vision is to promote sustainability through an eclectic offering of beautiful and conscious consumer goods from around the world. All of the products carried in this beautiful boutique are “green” in nature. Within this shop, you’ll also find the Lush organic wine, chocolate, tea and coffee bar. Lush’s offerings are all certified organic, sustainable, recycled, compostable, biodegradable, socially and environmentally responsible, bio-dynamically grown or fair trade certified. These delectable items may be green but they are also delicious and perfect for a treat while shopping or take some home and give as gifts!

Green Pineapple offers Key West organic wine, chocolate and coffee bar.

Housed within Green Pineapple is Lush, Key West’s very own organic wine, chocolate, tea and coffee bar.


Rejuvenate Your Workout

Posted on: September 20th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Just like your wardrobe, workout routines can start to feel a little old and bland. And there is nothing worse than dreading it or making it a chore. Rejuvenate your workout by trying something new, getting back into something you love or by adding something shiny and new to your athletic apparel wardrobe.

Stand-up paddleboarding (a.k.a SUP) is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. If you have not yet tried this fun pastime, it’s time to change that. Not only is it a great way to explore the shallow water in the Florida Keys but it also provides a great workout. SUP boards offer a wide platform for stability, excellent for standing or kneeling. If you do fall in, the boards are very easy to climb back on. You could also try a paddleboard yoga class offered throughout the Keys. The classes start with a nice paddle then move into a yoga instructed class and then end with a paddle back to land. Start by renting a board and then try out a class on the board. SUP rentals are available in the following locations: Key Largo Paddle the Florida Keys www.paddlethefloridakeys.com (305) 434-5930, Islamorada – MM88 flkeyssup@gmail.com(305) 753-1150, Islamorada Otherside Board Sports www.othersideboardsports.com (305) 853-9728, Keys Kayak in Marathon www.keyskayakllc.com (305) 743-8880, and SUP Key West www.supkeywest.com (305) 240-1426.

Leah Maki, SUP, Florida Keys paddleboarding

Want to buy your own paddleboard?  Check out the Bam Bam stand-up paddleboard by Michael Dolsey Design.  Durable, stable and light with a concave deck and wider profile for greater stability. $1,100 Florida Keys Kiteboarding and Stand-up Paddleboarding, 11201 Overseas Highway, Marathon, 305-942-9635 kiteboardingfloridakeys.com

If you’d like to keep your workout on dry land, consider taking up an old hobby you used to enjoy. As kids, most of us grew up on our bikes and used it as our main means of transportation. In the Keys, bikes are an excellent way to get around while also providing some great exercise. The trick to this sport as an adult is to invest in a quality bike that is the right size and style for you. Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters in Islamorada not only has a great selection of bicycles for purchase but also has an abundance of Electra bicycles for rent. Stop in and check out their large inventory and rent one to try it out. I highly recommend investing in a basket for the front of your bike. It’s a great way to store water bottles, wallets, and sunscreen while out cruising the Keys. Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters is located in Islamorada at 82240 Overseas Highway (305) 517-4177. For more information go to www.backcountrycowboy.com.

Leah Maki, Townie, Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters

Leah Maki with her pink townie from Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters in Islamorada

Just because you’re going to the gym doesn’t mean you should leave your fashion sense at home.

If you’re wearing old ratty t-shirts to work out, you are in desperate need of a new athletic apparel wardrobe. Workout apparel has come a long way. Workout tops for women offer built-in bra support and strategic color blocking for figure flattering effects. As exciting as it can be to put on a new dress, a new outfit for the gym can provide just as much enjoyment. Flex your fashion muscles by buying color coordinating outfits in bright hues. Make sure that whatever you buy, you feel confident in as that can be another incentive to work up a sweat. Islamorada Fitness at 85960 Overseas Highway offers a nice selection of workout apparel that will make you feel as good as you look.

Leah Maki, Rejuvenate Your Workout

New workout clothes are great for inspiration – Islamorada Fitness has a great selection of athletic apparel at their gym at 85960 Overseas Highway in Islamorada



Hotel Gift Shops Offer Great Finds

Posted on: September 9th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Hotel gift shops have come a long way.  Many of these shops no longer merely provide a selection of items one may have accidentally forgotten while packing but instead focus on providing their guests the opportunity to do some actual shopping.  In the Florida Keys, many feature art, fabulous gifts, resort wear, unique jewelry and accessories.  These shops have a lot to offer hotel guests as well as locals.

A few of my favorite hotel gift shops throughout the Keys include Kona Kai Resort’s art gallery and botanical gardens, Cheeca Lodge and Spa’s Signature Store, Island Trendz at Hampton Inn, and the Ocean Key Resort and Spa gift shop.

Kona Kai Resort

Offering a beautiful international fine art gallery featuring pastels by Beth Kaminstein, Dirk Verdoorn’s ships on canvas, paintings by Italian Franco Passalacqua, and Antarctic ice paintings by Xavier Cortada.  Located at 97802 Overseas Highway in Key Largo and open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.  In addition, tours of their award winning botanical gardens are open to the public.  Their ethnobotanic teaching garden is one of only two frost-free tropical botanic gardens in the southeastern United States.   Garden tours are available Tuesday through Saturday for $25.00 per person, of which $20 is tax deductible.  Advanced reservations are required by calling 305-852-7200.

Cheeca Lodge and Spa, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Leah Maki

Tommy Bahama resort wear available at Cheeca’s Signature Store

Cheeca Lodge and Spa

Cheeca’s Signature Store offers a large variety of men’s clothing by Tommy Bahama that include dress shirts, linen slacks, relaxed shorts, swim trunks and sandals.  In addition, the Signature Store features a great assortment of women’s clothing, resort wear and swimwear by Lily Pulitzer, Debbie Katz and Island Company.   Buy an entire outfit for dinner as well as a casual look for on or off the water for both men and women at this specialty store.    I especially love their fun sun hats, jelly sandals, island decor, and beautiful handmade jewelry.  Located at 81801 Overseas Highway in Islamorada open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday -Thursday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Hampton Inn, Leah's Fabulous Finds

Statement Necklaces and Clutch from Island Trendz at Hampton Inn

Island Trendz at Hampton Inn

Island Trendz boutique is located within the Hampton Inn in Islamorada and features an amazing collection of bold, colorful, and affordable statement jewelry, beautiful women’s cover-ups and dresses, a wide selection of bags and clutches, and ocean-themed house wares.  Pick-up a great dress and statement necklace for dinner or wear it over a swimsuit for day.  Open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays. Island Trendz is located at 80001 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.

Ocean Key, Leah's Fabulous Finds, Leah Maki

Bejeweled sandals and nautical clutches from Ocean Key gift shop

Ocean Key Resort and Spa gift shop

At the very end of Duval you’ll find this great gift shop tucked inside Ocean Key Resort and Spa.  Shoppers will enjoy the ever changing selection of clothing for men, women and children, local artwork, handmade gifts and home accessories.  I especially love the choice of women’s bejeweled sandals, nautical themed clutches, cute gifts, and colorful sunhats in a variety of shapes and sizes.   Ocean Key Resort and Spa is located at Zero Duval Street in Key West open daily from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Best Kept Secret: Isle Style in Key West

Posted on: August 24th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

A few blocks off Duval away from the hustle and bustle of Key West is one of the best kept secrets in the Keys.  Isle Style Salon, Spa & Boutique offers a charming atmosphere for shopping, pampering or partaking in a bit of both.  From the street, their quaint shop appears to be just a cute boutique.  But, upon further inspection, you’ll find a private tropical garden oasis framing a relaxing backdrop while in between spa and salon services.

Isle Style Salon, Spa & Boutique

The beautiful boutique nestled inside Isle Style in Key West.


Tropical Garden Oasis at Isle Style

Relax and rejuvenate in this tranquil garden while in between spa and salon services at Isle Style in Key West

Isle Style offers a wide variety of spa and salon services including hair cut and color, makeup applications, mani/pedis, facials, body scrubs, waxing and massages – all reasonably priced for locals and tourists alike.

In addition, they’re stylish bohemian chic boutique features the perfect locale to find great gifts.  They offer vibrant scarves, eclectic jewelry, a wide assortment of clothing, as well as luxurious skin and hair care products from Aveda and Eminence.

And lucky for you, Isle Style Salon, Spa and Boutique is celebrating their 10th Anniversary and as a show of appreciation they’re offering 20% off on all services for locals, now through October 1st!

The quote, “Beauty is pain” couldn’t be farther from the truth at Isle Style.  Beauty here looks like perfectly manicured toes, a soothing massage and relaxing in the quiet tropical oasis while contemplating whether to buy the fabulous polka dot clutch or adorable colored denim for your night out.

Isle Style is the only fully comprehensive salon, spa and boutique in the Florida Keys and they offer the most amazing tranquil sanctuary to enjoy an afternoon just for you.  To take advantage of the 20% off offer now through October 1st, call 305.292.4000 to make an appointment.  Isle Style is located at 1204 Simonton Street in Key West open Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.



Aisle Style: What to Wear to a Wedding

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

The month of June, second only to August, is the most popular month for weddings. With all the different types of weddings it can be hard to know what to wear. For most weddings, the invitation will indicate the type of attire the couple would like their guests to don by listing the dress code. If this is not listed than your next guess as to the dress code is to look at where and what time of day the wedding will be held. If it’s an outdoor wedding, beach formal would be more appropriate. An evening wedding indicates a more formal affair and should be attended with semi-formal to formal attire unless otherwise noted.

Weddings are a celebratory event and that means what you wear should reflect that. I prefer to always err on the side of more formal as its better to be over dressed then under. That said, you never want to upstage the bride. This means no attention-getting styles showing too much leg or too much decolletage, no loud colors and absolutely no white. Also, stay away from black dresses for early morning or afternoon outdoor weddings and if you wear a black dress, make sure it doesn’t look like you’re attending a funeral. Pair it with a colorful heel and bag and bold jewelry.

Weddings held in the Keys tend to be beach weddings. This means your clothing will need to be sweat resistant. Choose darker colored fabrics in breathable fabrics made from natural fibers such as 100 percent cotton or linen. Also, choose shoes that you can walk on the beach in. Try dressy sandals or a wedge heel and stay away from flip flops as they’re noisy and too casual. For men, loafers or leather sandals are appropriate unless a dress code of semi-formal or formal has been noted.


What to wear to a beach wedding

Perfect for a beach or casual wedding. Dress available at Wanderlust in Key West.

What to wear by dress code:

Black Tie, Formal or White Tie dress code

This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes and is typically used for nuptials beginning after 6 p.m. For men, black tie means dark colored suits or tuxes with white shirts, a tie or bow-tie and black dress shoes. White tie means men should wear a black evening tailcoat with a white bow tie and white collared shirt. For women, I suggest wearing a floor-length evening gown or knee-length cocktail dress in satin or silk with perhaps some embellishments such as beading or sequins. Pair it with dramatic jewelry, heels and an updo for a sophisticated look. If you’re not used to wearing heels, buy a pair with a small kitten heel and a pointy toe. This will elongate your legs and give the allusion that you’re wearing heels.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

This dress code is a step down from the more formal dress codes but it’s better to still err on the side of formality. For women, wear a nice cocktail dress or a fabulous skirt and blouse paired with heels. Wear lighter colors for a day time wedding and darker colors for evening weddings. For men, this dress code still means a suit and tie or slacks and sport jacket but allows more room for adding color. Wear a gray suit with a colored shirt, a patterned tie and dress shoes.

Beach Formal

Beach formal means to dress as though you’re going to a nice restaurant on a summer day. This dress code is also meant to let you know that the nuptials will take place on the beach and therefore you will need to dress for the elements (sand, sun and water). Men should wear a summer suit, linen pants or khakis, and sandals or loafers. A collared shirt is best but ties are not required. For women, a formal summer dress or long maxi dress with flats or wedges should be worn and hair and make-up can be kept more every day. With outdoor weddings, the weather can fluctuate so bring a pashmina, wrap, jacket or sweater to stay warm on a windy day.

Casual or Informal Chic

Casual translates into business casual so no jeans and t-shirts. For women, this means a nice sundress or blouse and skirt. You can wear more color to a casual wedding but stick with sandals. For casual weddings men can wear nice shorts, leather sandals and a colored shirt such as a polo, linen dress shirt or a silk dress shirt.

Aisle style I do’s

• Dress-up – weddings are a celebratory occasion so look the part.

• Keep things simple – too much is too much. Keep your make-up and dress feminine and sophisticated.

• Dress to impress – you’ll likely see friends and family that you haven’t seen in awhile and there will be lots of photos so make sure to wear something you like and want to be photographed in.

• Do use good judgment – If formality is not noted on the invitation, a cocktail dress and suit with tie will be good for just about every wedding.

Aisle style I don’ts

• No jeans, t-shirts or flip flops

• No prom dresses – for a more formal affair where a simple and sleek gown reflecting your age and the time of day.

• Absolutely no white – white is reserved for the bride so avoid wearing white, cream and ivory.

• Never upstage the bride.


Dress pictured is available at Wanderlust, 310 Petronia Street, Key West 305-509-7065, wanderlustkw.com.


Quality vs. Quantity: The Fashion Battle

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Most people shy away from designer clothing and accessories because of the price tags typically associated with them. However, buying quality over quantity can pay off in the long run especially if you’re buying classic pieces that fit you well. There is nothing worse than buying something you love only to have it fall apart after a few washes. I can think of several outfits I bought for special occasions: best friend’s wedding, anniversaries, vacations, etc. that I no longer own because they just didn’t last. What I’d give to still have them to be able to wear and reminiscent of the wonderful memories created while wearing them.

If you add up what you typically spend on clothing and accessories throughout the year, you’ll likely be amazed at how much of that clothing gets tossed or donated at the end of a season. Clothing made today is often not made well and therefore, doesn’t withstand the wear and tear of our everyday lives. Consequently, more is not better.

Designer clothing is in a class of its own. The quality of workmanship, fabric, and fit will ensure that the designer item will stay in your closet for years to come. Blue boutique located in Key West at 718 Caroline Street and in Islamorada at 82229 Overseas Highway has an island-style vibe that keeps with the Keys laid back way while offering contemporary and designer fashions for both men and women. This expertly curated boutique offers a unique mix of designer and non designer clothing in a varied price point that allows consumers in all price ranges to find that next great piece to add to their wardrobe.

Blue Boutique in Islamorada

Blue boutique has an island-style vibe that keeps with the Keys laid back way while offering contemporary and designer fashions for both men and women.

A visit to one of Blue’s boutiques is a must for all fashionista’s. From classic basics to something more on-trend and with a slight edge, Blue is the place to find that perfect look. Some of Blue’s featured designers include: Nicole Miller, DVF, Vince, Michael Stars and Ella Moss. Their focus on quality fabrics and timeless styles will allow you to create a distinctive look for every occasion.

Nicole Miller Dress available at Blue Boutique

Nicole Miller dress from Blue paired here with a David Symons necklace made of naga shell, crystal and bone.

In addition to their amazing selection of clothing and fashion forward accessories, owner David Symons also has on display his one-of-a-kind jewelry. His pieces brilliantly capture the beauty of the Keys through the use of bright hues and bold designs. By combining beads of semi-precious stones, silver, gold, glass and pearls, he creates truly unique pieces. His successful jewelry line is offered in all Blue boutique locations and includes chokers, earrings, bracelets, long chain necklaces and other jewelry styles. His jewelry includes beads, objects and collectables from places as far away as Africa, India, China, Indonesia and Tibet.

If you’re already a big fan or a soon-to-be devotee of Blue, join me for a fashion show featuring the latest looks from Blue and Tommy Bahama on Friday, May 17th at 6 p.m. at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. The cocktail party and fashion show is being hosted by Dennis Ward and Mirna Hormechea to benefit the Domestic Abuse Shelter. I, along with Skip Bradeen will be MC’ing the show while models don the latest designer looks from Blue. VIP tickets are available for $75.00 a person and include premier seating and two drink tickets. General admission tickets are available for $20.00 per person. Purchase your tickets at www.isupportdignity.org. Hope to see you there!

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.


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

Conch Style: What to pack on your Spring Break Trip

Posted on: March 8th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

There is nothing worse than getting to your destination only to realize you forgot half of what you needed or hate what you packed.  The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to plan ahead and to make a list of everything you’ll need.

Travel light.  Over packing is just a sign of not having a good plan.  Lay out your suitcase a week or two in advance and as you come across things you may want to bring, put them in your suitcase.  This will help you start the packing process.  A few days in advance repack your entire suitcase.  It will give you time to wash anything you might need.

Make a list.  Map out the number of days you’ll be on your vacation and any key activities you’ve got planned that will require special attire.  Then write down your outfits by day.

Pack clothing that is versatile and can be mixed and matched or worn multiple times.  A pair of shorts could be dressed up with wedges and a sparkly top for night and worn with a nautical striped top and sandals for day.  A jersey dress could be worn out one night and then could be used as a cover up over a swim suit at a later point in your vacation.  Most hotels have laundry service of some type so if you desperately needed something cleaned, you could do so at your hotel for a relatively small fee.

Wear your bulkiest items on the plane to save space in your luggage.  If you’re traveling to a cooler destination, wear your boots and bulky sweater on the plane.  Then consider packing clothing that can be layered for warmth as this will give you more room in your suitcase.  Airports and planes are generally cool so even if you’re going to a warm destination, wear a light-weight sweater while traveling that can also be worn on cooler evenings.

Limit the number of shoes.  Shoes take up a lot of room in your luggage so pack shoes that you can wear with multiple outfits.  For a beach vacation you will likely need one pair of heels, one pair of wedges, a pair of sandals and tennis shoes.  Use the valuable space inside of your tennis shoes to store your socks and workout clothes.  This will make it easier to find your workout gear when you’re unpacking.

Reserve space for new purchases.  I love buying new things when visiting new cities, so try to leave  a little extra space in your luggage for new purchases while traveling.

Stylish essentials for a beach vacation:

  • Kindle or good book, big sunglasses and a beach hat
  • A foldable tote doubles as a carry-on and a beach bag
  • Scarves  can be used to add color to your outfit and can also be worn as a sarong at the pool
  • Sun block, Advil, Bug Spray
  • Camera and phone chargers
  • Empty water bottle and lip balm – planes are known for being dry so stay hydrated and keep your lip balm handy
  • Lots of statement necklaces – they don’t take up a lot of space and will instantly give your outfits some oomph!


Key West Boutique Toko Indo Handmade Jewelry from Bali

Key West Boutique Toko Indo has a great selection of handmade statement jewelry from Bali


Key West Boutique Toko Indo

Find great statement necklaces at Toko Indo at 513 Duval Street in Key West. These bright and colorful handmade necklaces go great with beachy dresses and warm weather outfits.