Monthly Archives: October 2010

Expecto Patronum

This past weekend, I left my teens behind on a road trip to Islands of Adventure. I’m not a roller coaster fan, to say the least, but I am a Harry Potter aficionado.

Back in elementary and middle school, I’d get the newest chapter of the septology at midnight and devour the contents the next day. When the movies started coming out, I would wait in the lengthy lines the day each was premiered. It was a childish obsession like no other (except maybe Hello Kitty).

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is a dream come true for all us hopeful wizards and witches. Too bad there was no such spell to make the immense crowd disappear!

Despite the 70 minute line for the main attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the 90 minute wait to enter Ollivander’s wand shop and basically at least a 30 minute wait for anything in that section of Islands of Adventure, “Harry Potter World” was incredible.

The creators of Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts castle paid attention to every little detail. The tops of the shops were lined with fake snow and while in line for the Forbidden Journey ride, you walk through the castle, including the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore’s office, corridors of talking paintings, and the greenhouse where Professor Sprout teaches Herbology.

SPOILER ALERT: the ride is one of the craziest, best rides I’ve ever been on. It’s a sort of simulator ride unlike any other because it combines both real sets and wrap-around projections. It’s an exciting and sometimes scary ride that makes us muggles feel as if we’re riding this alongside our favorite characters and get to go through the same obstacles they do, such as dementors and Quidditch.

After the ride, I went to Honeydukes and Zonko’s to get some treats and games, like chocolate frogs that have holographic cards inside and an inflatable tongue.

The only thing I would have changed, other than the amount of people, is the quality of the wands. For $30, I would hope they would be made of wood, but to my dismay they were cleverly crafted of plastic. Luckily, I was drinking a delicious frozen Butterbeer to cheer me up.

Other fun parts were the two gift shops, the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head, and two other rides. The place was done really well and whenever I look at my hourglass keychain, I’ll remember my enchanted 20th birthday.


“Taking it Slow”

Caribou fans in the Miami area got to hear the musician live Tuesday night at Grand Central, courtesy of Poplife. It was Daniel Victor Snaith’s, known by his stage name Caribou, first time to the area.

In live events, a band, consisting of Ryan Smith, Brad Weber and John Schmersal, accompanies Caribou, who plays percussion and some vocals. The band started their set of about eight songs with one of my personal favorites, “Leave House.”

The fairly large crowd for an Indie band gathered around the stage when the band came out, but while looking around I noticed how empty the rest of the venue was. The mellow, yet experimental sounds almost seemed lost in the vastness of the space. In my opinion, the place was a little too large. A more intimate atmosphere, like The Electric Pickle, would have probably been better.

Even so, the crowd seemed mesmerized by the intricate sounds of the guitar, bass and drums all intertwined with man-made effects on the synth.

At one point it became obvious that the people towards the middle of the crowd didn’t know much of Caribou’s music. Their constant “Whoops” and offbeat claps, as well as the drunken dancing of a group close by ruined the mood. But I just moved to the front, where actual fans were tapping their feet and nodding their heads.

When the band began playing their most recognizable song, Odessa, it seemed as if the audience raised their hands in sync and the atmosphere changed from relaxing to fun.

Each song melded perfectly with the next and their engaging sound made it an experience that you can’t get from just listening to their CD.  The rest of the crowd seemed to feel the same because they begged for an encore when the band was done. To my surprise, Caribou came back on stage and played a mesmerizing and extended version of “Bowls.”

With some tweaks in the songs, like drum breakdowns, I was thrilled with the performance and the chance to catch them live.

Lucky for High School students and other underage fans, the show was not only all ages but it also ended at around 12 because of its early start, perfect for those with class the next morning or a curfew.

The $17.50 presale or $2.50 more at the door was well worth it.


Although a little late in the season, these trends from New York Fashion Week continue to be on point, especially in Miami, where the monotonous hot weather doesn’t offer much fashion leeway until the chillier temperatures come around in late October. With some breeze between the palm trees this past weekend, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bring up the 2010 Fall trends.

  1. Taking Care of Business: This conservative look portrays a smart, savvy woman who is aware of high quality and opts for a classic, yet statement piece, such as a camel blazer or coat. The neutrality of it can be paired with some slacks and a blouse or even a flowy dress like Isaac Mizrahi did in his Fall collection. The androgynous style can be simulated with either an oversized blazer or a beautifully cut and tailored one, like Tommy Hilfiger does. Without the funds to invest in an amazing cashmere car coat from Marc Jacobs or Behnaz Sarafpour, raid your dad’s closet or a local thrift store.
  2. Into the Wild: Luscious furs, worker boots, tough leathers, and military jackets, all in shades of olive green, browns, and blacks define this runway trend. Modeled after the collections of Burberry Prorsum, Rag & Bone, and Jill Stuart, this outdoorsy look conveys a strong, adventurous woman. The style can go many ways, such as a large, lavish fur coat or a belted deep green trench like one by Marc by Marc Jacobs or even an aviation-inspired outfit like Burberry Prorsum did.
  3. Uptown Girls: One of my favorite looks for autumn is the bohemian chic look polished with a bit of uptown slickness. Anna Sui, Diane Von Furstenberg and Vera Wang pushed this delicate fall femininity in their collections with long, breezy dresses and skirts. Pair a flowy floral-print dress with a tory coat and some scrunched up cable knit knee-high socks, tightly fit into some brown heeled boots to get an awe-inspiring outfit that will surely get the attention of many onlookers. This idea of a polished ethereal look can also be achieved with some delicate lace paired with deep plum and black accessories.

Now onto beauty…

  1. Classic red lips add a timeless sex appeal that designers like Yves Saint Laurent have used in countless runways. For fall, try a matte red that is a bit more deep and velvety, like Chanel’s Rouge Coco.
  2. Dark, intense eyes can be done using heavy eyeliner and metallic red, orange, violet and yellow shadows that go beyond the corners of the eyes to create a soft cat-eye effect. Don’t skimp on the glitter, it goes great with a neutral wardrobe.
  3. For your hair, try a low bun that can either be slick and sophisticated or disheveled and effortless. Another runway trend that perfectly pairs with oversized coats and long chiffon skirts is the messy ponytail.
  4. Finally, lightly pat on a matte concealer and finish your look with rosy cheeks. Just the right amount of pinch can be completed with pink blush added high on the cheekbones.

Dippin’ Low

Thomas Wesley Pentz, more widely known as Diplo, amassed a crowd of over 500 at BAR last Friday October 8th. Although supposedly a “secret” show, word of the free performance spread all over Twitter and Facebook and by the time it was night, friends of friends from all over Miami had heard of the show.

I know I described the Crystal Castles show as hot and packed, but this was a FREE show by a DJ who has worked with the likes of M.I.A. , Major Lazer, and La Roux and has created hit remixes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, CSS, Feist, Hot Chip, and so much more. To say the least, the inside of this teeny box of a bar was about 15 degrees hotter than the outside and whether you wanted to or not, the crowd swayed you to dance and mosh your way around.

While inside people were packed like sardines in a tin, many spectators opted for the picnic tables outside. Those who liked the breathing room could still enjoy Diplo’s set played on speakers outside.

The atmosphere at BAR was one I had never witnessed before. The venue is known for being chill and empty, with more of a neighbor’s party vibe than an actual club. On weekdays, you can find people playing board games over a beer, and on some weekends there might be a local band playing and some grilled cheeses or burgers being made out back.

But Friday night was unlike any other at BAR because of the overwhelming amount of people. The bar even added a plastic table bar outside.

Diplo played many popular, dance-inducing tracks, like Cali Swag District’s Teach Me How to Dougie and songs by Soulja Boy and Major Lazer.

Overall it was a fun night that will be hard for BAR to top.

Cubes of Earth & Water

Cubes, around 12 inches on each side, representing areas of our planet Earth were nestled in the blades of grass of the Great Lawn at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden Thursday September 23rd.

The cubes were part of a visual art installation named Earth & Water: Our Planet, Our Life. Created by PIAG Museum to spread awareness of the need to protect our planet, the works of art were at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden from September 19th to the 25th.

More than 20 artists depicted the Earth and water theme in a 3-dimensional cube format. They  included Paola Elorza, Peatriz Villegas, Milan Hajjar, Wahiba Nassim, Ingrid Espinal, Sabrina Philipp, Carla Fache, Pilar Rocha, Elisa Todd, Andrea Perez, and my mother, Marta Estrems.

The Earth and Water project was located at Pelican Island, Miami Dade Cultural Center and St Thomas University in 2008; Fairchild Tropical Garden and Epcot Disney in 2009, and this year at Jungle Island in April, Frost Museum in Florida International University in May, and the Botanical Garden in September. Each year a new group of artists paint their own ideas.

The cubes were displayed floating atop a lake in Fairchild Tropical Garden last year. This year at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden they were pinned down to the grass. Unfortunately, the gardeners had come right before the event on Thursday and attempted to move the cubes to cut the grass. To make matters even worse for the cube creators, it had rained earlier in the day as well, Estrems said.

Besides those two unfortunate occurrences, the cubes looked great illuminated by spotlights in the darkness of the night to show painted flowers, animals and even a littered ocean.

The next exhibition will be in San Antonio, Texas, from the 21st-22nd of October. According to the the PIAG museum website, the museum hopes that the many cube installations will not only bring awareness to the communities, but will also encourage environmental changes.