Monday, July 28, 2014

Miami Style Map: The Little White Dress

Thanks to revered icons like Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn, the little black dress (LBD) has become part of every woman's fashion lexicon and if you take a peek into said woman's closet, chances are you'll find one or two of these uniform pieces hanging in there- one that can easily take you from day to night. 

But what about the 'little white dress'- the little black dress's more playful and pure cousin? The one that makes you feel ethereal and fresh and seems to only make an appearance during the summer months? I'm more of a "wear my white dress all year round" kind of girl. And I love my white dresses with a pair of beat up boots or some metallic gladiator sandals. Whether you prefer yours form-fitting or free-flowing, a white dress should be a staple in every stylist fashionista's must-have wardrobe. 

I'm giddy to share my little white dress with y'all! Actually, there's a couple of things I'm excited to share. First off, meet Raquel She's a kick ball all-star and talented photographer all rolled into one and I had the pleasure of teaming up with her for a few Freshly Squeezed projects. Not only is she a doll and a whiz behind the lens (she was a fly-on-the-wall force during Swim Week), but she can roll around and shoot in four inch heels when she needs to. Trust me. I've witnessed the magic. I sent her a pic of my dress, and she came up wit this watercolor mosaic backdrop somewhere in Downtown Miami that is just perfect alongside my white number. 

Next up, let's talk about the steal I got on this Free People dress. On a recent trip to Bloomingdales, I spotted this boho frock hanging on a side rack just waiting for me to come along. I love me some Free People, but it's no secret that it's not very cheap. So usually when I do splurge on one if their signature pieces, it's because I've been coveting it for a while. Now, this off the shoulder eyelet dress was a spontaneous purchase. I flipped the price tag and behold- SALE! And not just a 20%-30% sale, but a whopping 75% off then an extra 30% using my loyalist card. Seriously, did I just score a $270 dress for 55 bucks? I must be free people dreamin'.  I want to live in this dress. 

There's so much great detailing on this dress- from the lace on the bust area and the sheer panels that fall over the shoulder, to the hi-lo length on the skirt. I particularly love this length because you can actually see the shoes I'm wearing! And like I said, a pair of boots are never more than an arm's reach away from anything I wear in my day to day. These Steve Madden Troopa boots have miles. 

Here's an up close and personal look at all my outfit accessories and details. This black felt has been one of my best purchases to date, and an easy way to add a bohemian element to a dainty and feminine dress. My 'K' initial necklace, a gift from a friend, sits close to my neck and is perfect for layering. I paired it with my long necklace courtesy of Brooklyn Charm. And say hello to my arm candy! Those candy-colored bracelets are from local Miami designer, Taudrey. 

So ladies, next time you hit your favorite store, browse the sale racks and keep an eye out for that little white dress that's good for all seasons! 

On me: 

White dress- Free People (Bloomingdales)
Hat- Urban Outfitters 
Shoes- Steve Madden
Necklace- Brooklyn Charm 
Candy Colored bracelets- Taudrey

In Style, 


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stripped Down: FSF's Swim Week Round Up!

Mercedes Benz Swim Week has come to a close and my head is still spinning with images of two pieces, caftans, and wild, messy beach hair. I went to more shows and parties than a D-list celebrity would dare to admit (all in the name of work, of course), and perused a plethora of backstage hair and makeup preparations hoping someone would mistake me for a swimsuit model. I sat front row and saw some really fun and colorful presentations and I witnessed some pretty unoriginal ones too. Next. 

But amidst model-gawking, people-watching, and hurricane tracking, I managed to not only have a a fantastic time covering another beachy-bustling fashion week, but also took some notes on my top 5 shows so I could share with you- my amazing freshly squeezed fans! 

So without further ado, I bring you the hits- in no particular order. 

Clover Canyon
Thanks to hurricane force winds and rain, the Clover Canyon Swim presentation became more of an intimate affair inside the Raleigh Hotel penthouse, allowing for an up close and personal look at the bevy of models sporting the South American inspired designs. Showing for the first time in Miami, the swimwear collection was a vision in neoprene, where the iconic expressionist prints that make Clover Canyon a fashionista favorite, were in full effect. The spaghetti-strap one pieces in bright florals were at the top of my list, but it was the uber-chic pool slip-on sandals also decked in the line's kaleidoscopic graphic designs, that stole my heart. I need a pair in my life. 

Mara Hoffman
Someone pack my bags because after sitting front row at the Mara Hoffman show, I'm ready for a trip to Guatamela! Rich tribal prints, gorgeous shapes, and vibrant colors were on hand on every swimsuit in this vibrant collection.  Even beach cover ups, like the harem jumper one pieces, were sporting the classic Mara silhouettes, that are perfect for poolside cocktails or beachfront dining. Let's not forget the high-waisted bottoms she sent down the runway- proving the old age adage, 'the higher the better.' 

6 Shore Road 
I knew this show was going to be a crowd-pleaser the moment I stepped backstage. Warrior princess-inspired braids and makeup, and even traditional nose rings, were all part of 6 Shore Road's Nepali based creations. Bright watercolor florals and mandala geometric shaped prints were splashed all over stand-out bikinis and one pieces with just the right amount of coverage. Cutouts, a big trend this season, allowed for hints of sexy to peek through on some of the looks. Tassels were also the accessory 'du jour' as they were seen on colorful beach bags and cover-ups. 

Give me a good Salt-N-Peppa track, and I'm solid. Now add TLC, Mariah Carey and swimsuits with 90's iconography to that fashion playlist, and you got yourself a winning combination. The Wildfox swim show was an epic 90's throwback with pastel and neon bikinis, high top Reeboks, and even some high leg one piece suits with zipper detailing. A terry cloth suit, even made an appearance on the runway, along with traditional Wildfox pieces like boho-chic maxi dresses and rompers. This is one dance party you don't want to miss. 

Nothing gets a crowd going like a good opening number. California-based brand, Mikoh, kicked off their swim presentation with a trio of Tahitian Hula dancers that lead the way for a sleek and modern collection. The bold yet minimalist designs are effortlessly chic and designed with that strong and beautiful surfer girl in mind. Unique prints, like a black and white palm print seen on both a bandeau top and loose-fitting pants, coexisted organically with bold solid colored suits. But the piece de resistance-a fierce black rubber neoprene wetsuit that might just take you out of your swimsuit comfort zone. 


In Style, 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Miami Style Map: This Sh#$%t is BANANAS!

I'm literally going bananas over this banana print matchy set from Pixie Market. Not only because I love bananas (duh), but it's such a great conversation piece. I actually ended up wearing this during Mercedes Benz Swim Week over the weekend and got tons of compliments and a few snapshots from photographers on the scene. Plain and simple, this outfit is FUN, meant to wear with a big happy grin and an 'I don't care, look at me' attitude! 

I wanted to photograph this look at one of my favorite landmarks- The Hotel New Yorker in Miami's MiMo district. Not because I frequent motels along this strip, but because it's such an iconic property and one that I remember so vividly when I used to live nearby as a young teen (before this area got cool). And really because anything that makes any reference to the city I consider home is my Achilles heel. 

I love the architecture you find in many of the buildings in the MiMo district, not to mention the hidden shopping gems and delicious restaurants that are popping up in this jewel of a neighborhood. 'MiMo' is short for 'Miami Modern' and characterized by a style of architecture that is native to Miami and birthed during the 1950s and 1960s. It spans from 50th street to 77th street along Biscayne Boulevard and is considered historic. It's mid-century, fun, and retro all in one and a drive down busy BiBo (Biscayne Boulevard, yo), will you have you feeling like you're in a time machine to vintage Florida. 

That's why I love the idea of this bright and fun outfit against the white and aqua details of the New Yorker. Watch me whip my hair back and forth and attempt some daredevil jumps that took a lot of energy and sweat on my part. (Disclaimer: No photographer, ahem Elizabeth, was hurt during the course of this photo shoot).

I paired the set with my Steve Madden leopard slip-ons and they just add to the playfulness of the whole look! Why keep the shoes serious when you could just keep having fun?!

I know I am! 

On Me: 

Banana set- Pixie Market
Slip-ons- Steve Madden 

In Style, 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Miami Style Map: The Colors of Calle Ocho

I can't take credit for the idea behind this shoot, so before I embark on a style ramble, I have to give mad props to my photographer and friend, Liz of Ra-Haus ( who was the brain child of this creative concept! 

I've been wanting to shoot in Little Havana for some time because if its nostalgic familiarity and because it's such a colorful and historic part of Miami's landscape and culture. It's the epicenter of so much of the Cuban community and I have nothing but wonderful memories of growing up in the neighborhood. I learned how to play dominoes at a very early age and would spend most afternoons with my abuela playing bingo with the other viejas on the block, drinking cafecito and eating way too many biscochos. Many Halloweens were spent trick or treating with kids from the neighborhood and every year for the 'Parada de los Reyes Magos (3 kings parade)', my grandmother and I would head out early with our plastic fold up chairs to get a prime spot along the route. 

This is the Little Havana I remember. And this is what I initially set out to capture. But as I drove along my old street and past old storefronts from my youth, I felt a bit stripped of that innocent memory. Yes, the spirit and vibrancy that make this neighborhood a thriving cultural reminder of our richness and personal sacrifices still remain in pockets, but physically it wasn't the same. But I didn't want to focus on how things had changed or how they could be better. As we know, some things have to be broken down in order to be built back up and there are signs of life being injected into recapturing the essence of what Little Havana was in its prime. What I did see were rich colors, and story-telling murals and they were quite beautiful. And as Lizzie and I drove around and kept pointing them out, she brought up an idea- instead of shooting at a landmark or a specific location, why not play with the colors? There's a supply and demand of colors not just in the physical sense, but metaphorically, the colors of this ever-changing neighborhood were still alive. 

We chose to do a sequence of four- and off we went on our merry way in search of the 'Colors of Calle Ocho' and this is what we created using my insanely wild and loud tropical print jumper as the supporting actor in this story! 

On Me:

-Jumper- Boohoo Official
- Shoes- Steve Madden
- Bracelet- Charlene K (via Rocksbox) 

In Style, 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Style Spotlight Part Deux: Up Close and Personal with 6 Shore Road Designer, POOJA

Another round of sexy swimwear is hitting the sandy tents on Miami Beach and closing up tonight's swim presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, is New York based designer, Pooja Kharbanda, the beauty and talent behind the effortlessly glam yet edgy 6 Shore Road. 

Her swimsuits and beachwear are a visual passport to the world. Pooja uses her global travel diaries as inspiration in creating pieces that are rich in print, color, and curve-hugging silhouettes that make going to the beach a jet-setting experience. Not one to be tied down to impracticality, Pooja's creations can easily be transformed from an afternoon swim to happy hour at the cabana. 

And while she may be drowning in mood boards, monokinis, and  patterns, this multi-cultural cool creator still found time to talk to me about her latest collection and what she loves to do when she comes up for air! 

Check out my interview with Pooja after the jump! 

FSF: You are gearing up for another swim Week show and people are excited to see what you have in store. What can you tell us about this year's collection? What inspired you?

P: The inspiration this season came from Nepalese women who have a warrior feel to them. So you'll see a stronger woman, bright watercolor florals, mandala geo shaped prints - all that were inspired by the culture of Nepa.

FSF: How long does the creative process take, or really begin, when it comes to designing a new collection? It's definitely not an overnight thing!

P: It's a long process, mood/inspiration board, fabrics & colors and then the final sample collection.  As long as the inspiration is clear everything else follows!

FSF: With so many beautiful and unique body types, what is your favorite thing about designing for a woman's body?

P: There are so many curves and beautiful parts of a woman - so it's so much fun accentuating each body part or parts!

FSF: Swim trends vary so much whether it's St. Barts or Shelter Island. What swim trends are we seeing for the season? And what trends specifically in Miami?

P: Watercolor florals, cutouts, bright solids and lots of one pieces!

FSF: What's one swimsuit trend you wish would just go away? 

P: bows on swimsuits - they aren't flattering on anyone!

FSF: How much does your upbringing and background influence the pieces in your collection?

P: HUGE, I'm constantly pulling inspiration from India, Hong Kong, & Panama through colors, embroideries, or silhouettes.

FSF: How would you describe your own swim style?

P: It's downtown chic that you can take from beach to bar.  Very transitional!

FSF: Where could we find you on a day off? How do you like to kick back when you have downtime?

P: Rooftop pool with a margarita in hand or jetting to a close paradise locale for the weekend.

FSF: Favorite thing to do while hanging out in Miami- go!
P: Hanging at the Shore Club Pool.

In Style,


Friday, July 18, 2014

Style Spotlight: Natalie Off Duty Takes Miami

Rummage through the Instagram archives of model and super blogger, Natalie Off Duty and there's a hint of Angelina Jolie sultriness and a young Patti Smith rock n' roll attitude that make her that much more appealing than your run of the mill cover girl. 

There's such an ease in the way this New York based (LA bred) city girl marries her love of all things bohemian and eclectic, that's borderline envious. But in a "I want to be just like her" way. 

She's cool. She's fun and she's the epitome of the overused term, "downtown chic." She can throw on a kimono over a swimsuit or pair Birkenstocks with a floral frock, and she does it looking ethereally magical 'in her off duty' hours. It's no wonder Natalie has musical passion and ambitions. Her style embodies that of the cool girl in the band. 

And now she's making her way to Mercedes Benz Swim week with her equally hip model/blogger sister, Dylana (seriously, where was I in this Suarez gene pool?!) and swimsuit brand, 6 Shore Road, where she'll be sure to turn heads in her front row, street style fashion. And somehow amidst her crazy schedule, Natalie managed to chat with me about all things style, Miami (this is only her second visit to the Magic City!), and even salsa dancing. You'll love her even more after reading our little Q&A!

Natalie, I think we're ready to exchange best friend charms. 

FSF: How would you describe the energy in Miami?

NOD: I have only been to Miami once before during Winter Music Concert! I loved the laid-back, yet fun vibe. It's like a constant party. And I love the art deco hotels, the color, and the heat! It's like my east-coast Vegas, but as a beach town.  

FSF: What's your go-to spot for a Cuban food fix? And what's your must have dish?

NOD: Cafe Habana is HUGE here in NYC. I always go for the corn on the cob, and I add spicy peppers on top. Delicious. 

FSF: Favorite poolside cocktail?

NOD: I love a good ol' Margarita. 

FSF: Miami has it's very own distinctive, sexy style, what's in your suitcase when you head down for a weekend of fun in Miami?

NOD: Always a good pair of vintage high waisted denim shorts. Wherever I go in the summer, I have to pack those. I've worn the same pair for years…hard to find a good one! And I feel that they are laid-back, but still sexy. That, and of course too many bikinis to count. I also love fun, and flowing mini dresses, and bohemian blouses to throw over at the beach. That, with loads of great chunky jewelry and a wide-brim hat. I try to keep things classic, but still colorful and fun! I'm totally new to the Miami lifestyle! 

FSF: Describe your style in 3 words.

NOD: Eclectic, Rock n' Roll, Colorful.

FSF: Favorite hang out spot with friends while in town?

NOD: Hmmm, I'm sure we will be at the bar at the Freehand Hotel. And I heard the Soho Beach House is amazing. Both I'll be visiting for the first time! 

FSF: Pool or Beach. And you can only pick one!

NOD: Beach!

FSF: And most crucial thing we want to know about you, can you salsa?! How are those dance moves?

NOD:  I LOVE to dance. I grew up as a dancer, and even considered it as a career! I love jazz and hip-hop, but I'll totally let out my Spanish side, and salsa. But I need a partner!

Check out Natalie's Blog at
And follow her on Instagram @natalieoffduty

In Style, 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Miami Style Map: A Tropical-Infused Double Take

I bet the first thing some of you will say when you see my latest blog photos is, "Hey, I know that wall!" This wall is part of the Miami zeitgeist- off the beaten path of other known landmarks on Miami Beach or even Calle Ocho. It's an iconic piece of art that's part of a longstanding bird store called Sinbad's. If you're travels take you on the Bird Road path, then chances are this birds of paradise mural has probably caught your eye while sitting in traffic or zipping westbound on your commute. It's wild. Literally. 

I liked where Natalie's (from Suna Photography) head was at when she pre-selected this spot in our Bird Road District adventures. I was feeling like a Jungle Queen in her natural habitat (just as long as any of these painted beasts didn't jump off their canvas to eat me in my pretty dress). 

I absolutely love this tropical print dress I scored while at a recent visit to another Bird Road landmark, Miami Twice and I am even more excited to wear it during Swim Week. I wanted to do something different, though. I wanted to show my fellow fashionistas how to wear one dress two different ways. That way, whenever you feel like you have nothing to wear or "I already wore that dress on Facebook" (because let's face it, Facebook kills fashion), there's always the opportunity to give your favorite dress a second chance. 

So this particular look is quite simple. Keep it sexy and beachy with a pair of statement heels or wedges. Something that gives you length- think taller than Tom Cruise length. And put on a bright lip for added effect. Add a clutch, some cool earrings, and call it wrap! 

Grab your girlfriends and go out dancing! 

Give a feminine dress a downtown spin by adding tougher accessories. I love a good tailored blazer over a dress. I call it my other 'NY uniform' since it's perfect for transitioning from season to season. It also can make a va-va-voom dress more proper and conservative without being dowdy. My studded boots from Free People play off the tropical print by giving it a more rough and tough look and feel. I finished it off with a hat, some bad ass art deco chandelier earrings, and an off white clutch that rounds up the whole outfit. 

Now take me out to listen to some good music! 

On Me: 
Dress- Miami Twice
Shoes (First look)- Payless 
Clutch (first look)- Big Buddha 
Earrings- Forever 21 

Shoes (second look)- Free People
Clutch (second look)- Aldo 
Hat (second look)- Nasty Gal

In Style, 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Miami Style Map: Kicking off Mercedes Benz Swim Week in American Apparel

Mercedes Benz Swim Week kicks off this week in Miami and in the spirit of skimpy and sexy, I'm dedicating today's post to this retro-inspired American Apparel high waisted sensation. And the beauty and glory of this suit wouldn't be complete without the proper setting- in this case, the iconic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, which tells a story of its own. 

I teamed up with my favorite gal and master behind the lens, Lizzy (with a 'y') of Ra-Haus ( for this throwback, pin-upesque swimsuit shoot. Ironically enough, rain diverted our original location but in the end, it gave way to an even better visual conversation. The Biltmore Hotel boasts some beautiful and timeless rooms in its Mediterranean enclave. This Moroccan-Spanish courtyard, with it's detailed and colorful tile work and lush greenery, is the ultimate backdrop to illustrate this vintage bikini.

In the last couple of years, I've had a growing obsession with high-waisted suits, even apparel. This trend is an acquired taste and that's okay. There's a certain attitude, look, and confidence needed to carry off this trend without feeling uncomfortable or outdated. It's a matter of how you wear it because if not done right, can come off a little dumpy. 

I love the way this suit accentuates my assets. It's nice to be able to show that even thin women have curves and the right high-waisted suit is the perfect opportunity to showcase an hour-glass figure. I have even more respect for these 'child-bearing' hips after giving birth to my baby girl. The marvel I have for my body and all its wonder and capability is off the charts after becoming a mom and I constantly feel the need to show that off.  I feel sexy, powerful and dare I say, HAWT (the red Fendi heels don't hurt either)! 

No one knows you're body better than you and it's the 'end all be all' rule of thumb when shopping for a swimsuit. Buy a suit that shows off your most favorite assets. What works for you might not work for another woman's body type and vice versa. With so many different body types (and swimsuits) that make the world go around, there is a suit for every woman out there! Prints are another fun way to personalize a suit. Sure, the classics (black, white, nude, etc) are always nice to have stashed, but finding a bold and sassy print, can add a jolt of summer fun to your beach wardrobe. Right now, I'm hooked on tropical prints and this green and blue palm print, is an eye catcher. 

if you're lucky enough to be in Miami for Swim Week, stop by a show and check out the the season's latest designs by the hottest designers, or if not, grab a beach chair and enjoy the endless people watching and swimsuit fashion our beautiful beaches have to offer! 

On Me: 

Swimsuit- American Apparel 
Glasses- Pixie Market
Heels- Fendi 

In Style, 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Miami Style Map: Tropi-cool and Cafecitos

Welcome to Miami where cafecito machines are brewing all over the 305!

No one takes their 'cafecito' breaks more seriously than Miamians. And you'll often find the coffee fiends at outposts just like these taking swigs of grinded fuel before heading out to conquer the world. 

What started off as a cafecito pit stop for photographer, Natalie and I, turned into an impromptu photo shoot on our day together and these photos were actually my favorite ones of the batch!  

Sometimes I never know where we end up shooting. Locations serendipitously pop up as we are driving around or on our way to a certain spot, and such was the case with this gem we came across on our shooting adventures in the Bird Road Arts District. As I was sipping on my cafecito, Natalie whips out her camera and says, "I'm going to take some pictures of you. This could be cool." Voila, mon amis. She was right. 

The cafeteria stand was an explosion of color I didn't expect and when you add my vintage red and white tropi-cool blouse (another Baton Rouge score) to the mix, it's like a bright paint box spillage on a rather industrialized canvas. And it works! 

I paired it with a pair of black high-waisted pants, pointy leopard loafers, and my boater hat to add more visual sparks to the look, plus this is how I wore the look in real time. No gimmicks.  I love the way the blouse looks tucked in the pants. There are a few 90s trends that I can't quite let go of, and this is one of them. I make no apologies when I channel my inner Jesse Spano!

On Me:

Top- Aristocracy Bohemia (Baton Rouge)
Pants- H&M
Hat- H&M
Flats- Steve Madden

In Style,