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MIAMI’S HISTORY IN ART BUILDS

By: Grace M. Castro

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Another prime slice of Miami is undergoing a momentous transformation.  Included in the redesign of dowtown’s bayfront, the new Pérez Art Museum, formerly Miami Art Museum, is well underway. Coupled with a 29-acre Museum Park overlooking the Biscayne Bay, you cannot miss it. And lucky are those who get to witness from the beginning.

The Beacon Council, a public and private non-profit agency working to support the business climate of Miami and Dade County, invited its Creative Design Committee for a Private Tour and the staff at the Miami Art Museum were all the more happy to share.

Through scaffolding, beams and barricades, it was truly a privilege to see first hand the development of this new Miami landmark that will be a central figure in South Florida’s increasingly popular art and cultural scene.

Set to partially open in December, in time for Art Basel of course, the art to grace its interior space has already been designated. Equally appealing are the countless floor to ceiling windows that allow visitors to see the surrounding city of Miami, no matter where they stand within. The exterior will mix green space, public gardens and sculpture installations. The bayfront will add the final touch.  

Art lovers agree…this is a very exciting time.

To learn more, visit Miami Art Museum.

 

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BIKES BY DESIGN

By: Grace M. Castro

Over at my house, we’ve been a little obsessed over bicycles. Ever since we had an amazing day at the beach riding rented beach cruisers, we’ve been hooked. Even after we finally purchased our own bikes, it has not stopped us from searching obsessively for “thee” coolest bike. The hunt can be a bit addicting, especially when you remember being a kid and getting the chance to pick out your first bike? How great was that?!

Bikes have definitely gotten a lot sleeker in design and now with customization services at your online fingertips you can mix and match colors and accessories to your liking. As much as I love brand new bikes, I also have a special place for vintage bikes. Here are a few I found and recently added to my wish list.

 

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COVER ME!

By: Grace M. Castro

If you follow me on Twitter @gcastromiami you knew the moment I spilled a full cup of coffee on my 15’ MacBook Pro. Indeed it was a great start to the morning. NOT!

It was the most dramatic experience of deep felt loss I’ve ever undergone for something that did not have a live beating pulse. It was devastating because the fear of possibly losing everything I had saved on my computer, over many years, was incomprehensible.  A little dramatic huh? Well, yes. My baby’s photos were there, my life’s work, ideas, creative brain dumps and so much more. And yes, I'm one of those people that fails time after time to back-up their computer. Insert "idiot" here. 

Fast forward a few days, it “sort of” worked out. Even though I had to buy a new computer, my information was saved. I had to downgrade to the 13” size, which happened to work out very well. I’m enjoying it so very much. Not having to lug around something heavier than I need puts an extra spring in your step. I also use to have the 17”, a beast to carry if you’re always on the go.

So it was only a matter of time before I started to accessorize. Today, I ventured to Office Max to see what laptop covers they had available to protect my new piece of candy. Although I saw nothing that protects against unexpected coffee spills, I spotted a  few $50 cases and not much of a selection. SMH (that's shake my head)…”no way” I say and decide I’d rather jump on Etsy.com to see what I can find cheaper and at the same time support a handmade crafty entrepreneur. I was right. Talk about pages and pages of options. I am definitely going to find something a lot more stylish and a deal. Check out what caught my eye under $50! Maybe you’ll find something too. If you like something, click to buy.

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FREAKER USA

Image source: Freaker USA

Image source: Freaker USA

By: Grace M. Castro

How many times have I said, “I love Shark Tank”? Lots, just see my Twitter account on Friday nights when it’s on.  By the way, a new episode airs today. Tune in.

To my surprise, Shark Tank reruns air on Thursday nights too on ABC. I was excited to see Freaker again, a brand I thought was really fun and fresh atheistically…it is right up my alley in terms of the type of design I love...I like their logo, website, and videos.  What is Freaker you ask? Well, they are “global leaders preventing moist handshakes and sweaty beverages”, of course! And their “never-ending journey” is made better by their stylish and functional drink insulator. What? OK, I must admit, you’ll have to check out their website to understand. Also, check out their videos…it’s what sealed the deal for me as a fan. Oh, and if you're family, you can expect a "Freaker" for Christmas. Now, how does that sound?

Image source: Freaker USA

Image source: Freaker USA

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PLUS ONE

By Grace M. Castro

Being the “plus one” can be daunting especially when you are not in your element. Sharon Socol, photographer and author of “Plus One: An Outsider’s Photographic Journey into the World of Fashion”, often felt like a fish out a water in a sea of fashion stars and personalities when accompanying her husband, an executive within the industry, to an endless calendar of events.

At Socol’s book launch event, held February 2, 2013 at Books and Books Coral Gables, it was quite the opposite. Socol was indeed the star of the show as she detailed the events that lead her to a published book and a full house of fans and book lovers. Coining herself as some sort of anthropologist by circumstance, her book is filled with photographs taken as a guest at fashion events. With a level of access not available to photographers on assignment, the photos are raw, picking up on the most minor social interaction between her subjects. Never really knowing the names of those she photographed, her view lacked preconceived notions for the people and situations she captured, allowing the photos to truly speak for themselves.

Socol's book featured in Vogue, prompted someone in the audience to ask if she had met Anna Wintour, fishing for any resemblance to Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”. Socol, who has met Wintour on several occasions as a result of her husband’s working relationship, remembered Wintour as someone who always appeared confident with her role in the fashion world and had a no nonsense kind of attitude. Socol’s overall thoughts on the fashion industry as a whole align with what we already know. The world of fashion is filled with people who are notably dedicated to their work and passionate about their craft.

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THE LADY IN GOLD

by Grace M. Castro

The Wolfsonian Museum hosted a book talk and signing with Anne-Marie O’Conner, author of “The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer”, on Friday, February 1, 2013. Free and open to the public, the event boasted a packed house with standing room only. Klimt’s work has long been admired and the evening was an opportune time to learn more about him and the women he captured on canvas.

Klimt was a great artist who had a love for women, the author explained. He also had a keen fashion sensibility that led him to intricately depict what each muse wore with detail. Embedded in the fabric of each dress he painted were symbols, geometric and organic shapes, containing secret messages, some still unknown to this day. He also dabbled in fashion design collaborating with fashion designer Emilie Flöge, who can also be found, represented throughout in his collection of paintings.

Ultimately known as one of the best artists of all time, it was Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer that became one of the most recognizable work of art from the twentieth century and author Anne-Marie O’Conner, in her book, goes on to tell us the “spellbinding story, part fairy tale, part suspense” of their long lasting friendship.

For more information Klimt visit the virtual Gustav Klimt Museum.

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THE BATTLE OF VERSAILLES

By: Grace M. Castro

One of Wynwood’s newest residents, the Keni Valenti Gallery, added a little variety to January’s Art Walk and it was quite refreshing. Accessible by RSVP only, the intimate fashion exhibition and gathering positioned memorable vintage pieces from the 1973 fashion show, “The Battle of Versailles”, in the spotlight once more.

The famed fashion event first took its place in history when the U.S. designers claimed victory over competing French designers. At the time, the U.S. boasted team members Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, and Halston to name a few. In addition to the win, the event was also billed as “ a landmark fashion show that broke racial barriers” by featuring their secret weapon, eight African-American models who rocked the runway to take home gold. 

To recount the energy of that evening, Valenti took time in between meet and greets to bring us back to that day. Many years later, he relived the experience like it was yesterday and it was evident that his love of fashion and eye to curate the timeless styles of yesteryear will keep us coming back.

For more on this rich piece of fashion history and SLIDESHOW to match, visit ABCNews.Go.com

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BEACH + BIKE

By: Grace M. Castro

In my resolve to spend more time outdoors, I headed back to the Hollywood Boardwalk. This time, I got more adventurous. Not remembering the last time I rode a bike, back on the saddle I went. Sad but true, but once on, it took me a while to stop the wobble. A wobble so out of control, witnesses worried about my son in the back toddler seat. I had to laugh at myself mostly in disbelief. After a mile or so, I regained enough composure to actually enjoy it. Enjoy it I did, like I was 10 all over again. 

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2012 WAS A GOOD YEAR

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By: Grace M. Castro

Every year that you come closer to finding your purpose is a good year. 2012 did much to challenge me into a new space. With every experience, I took a forward step in my destined direction. To celebrate and kick-off the year, I spent the first day at the beach, a great place to awaken all the senses and receive what the universe has to offer. Welcome 2013!

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