Category Archives: CNJ219 class

Oh la la lanvin

Attention fashionistas on a budget: H&M will be opening its first store in the Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens tomorrow at noon. But if you’re a Miami local, you might want to put off the around two hour drive for a few more days because the talked-about Lanvin collection will be at the two-story flagship store (meaning it will carry the special lines designers create for H&M) on November 20th.

While in Orlando two weekends ago (see Expecto Patronum article) I just had to stop by the H&M store and picked up some large rings and chunky necklace for under $30. The fashion retailer is known for having trendy, well-made clothes for less, such as chic jackets for $29.95, comfy sweaters for $14.95 and sophisticated dresses for $19.95.

Just two days ago, H&M released its video preview of the Lanvin Heart H&M Collection. If you’re like me, the trip to Palm Beach will be well worth it to get your hands on an asymmetrical dark purple party dress that looks just like one in Lanvin’s ready-to-wear, except instead of costing $3000, it’ll be priced at $199.

If you’re looking for structure, yet femininity, mixed with bold colors, then get ready to fight it out at H&M for this limited collection.

Lanvin’s creative director, Alber Elbaz, will be following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld, Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney, who have also collaborated with the Swedish-based fashion company.

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays, so get a couple of girlfriends to chip in for gas money and take a mini road trip to celebrate midterms being over before finals start!

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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.

Fallin’

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.

Get a taste of what Miami has to offer

Looking for a delicious meal that is sure to impress your date? Miami Spice is an annual restaurant promotion that takes place weekdays from August 1 to September 30. During these two months, Miami locals and visitors alike can enjoy three-course meals in some of Miami’s top restaurants for a lunch price of $22 or a dinner price of $35.

For some, that price-per-person may seem costly, but mind you that most of these restaurants serve entrees that are in the $20 range. This means that, for lunch, you would be getting an incredibly unique and delicious meal for the price of one plate.

I love going out to eat, and once I find a restaurant that suits my gastronomical fancy, I want to eat there as often as I can, even though my wallet is only so big. Miami Spice is a chance to experience a wide array of flavors from different ethnic cuisines, ranging from Spanish to Argentinean to Japanese.

One restaurant that I had been drooling over was Meat Market. Located on Lincoln Road, Meat Market oozes luxury with its Angus rib eye and perfectly broiled soufflés. The restaurant only offers the fixed-price menu for dinner, but your meal can include the likes of an Alaskan crab tail to start, Harris Ranch short ribs as a main course, and a milk chocolate panna cotta for dessert. So shell out that Benjamin Franklin and invite a lucky guest to dine at Meat Market this week.

On the other hand, some restaurants offer small-portioned meals that are not worth the price. Some of my favorite restaurants might be participating in Miami Spice, but their regular menu is much more worthwhile. These include: Graziano’s in both Brickell and Coral Gables, Novecento, Sugarcane (probably my favorite restaurant at the moment), Sushi Samba, China Grill, and Red Koi. The $35 dinner is supposed to mean a discount of 25-60%, but in reality the restaurant “discounts” the portion as well, so for example, Sugarcane’s regular menu offers small, tapas style plates from $5 to around $15, making personal selection much more worthwhile than a three-course meal.

A $50 dinner is an extravagance for most during this economy, but take your special someone on a romantic date night that will be hard to top before Miami Spice is gone.

P.S.  If you miss out on Miami Spice, make sure to dine at Sugarcane one of these days anyhow. The goat cheese croquets, Kobe beef sliders, raw jumbo shrimp, and torrejas (a type of French toast that is soaked in buttermilk and eggs for 24 hours, then pan seared and cooked in the oven with caramelized apples) are must haves!

“Get over it, it’s a show dude,”

Said one teenage girl to a guy complaining next to her as she attempted to enter the mosh pit created in front of the stage last Saturday at Grand Central.

The downtown club was packed with sweat-dripping, head-nodding, alcohol downing Crystal Castles fans.  What could possibly be missing? A little sobriety and personal space would have been nice.

Tickets were initially sold online for $25. The hype over the experimental electronic, punk duo from Toronto, Ontario grew to unforeseen levels, the event tickets were sold out in participating stores (Uncle Sams is one) and online a week before. Grand Central, although large for a Poplife club, has its limits. But those in charge of the event ignored maximum capacity and decided to reopen admission for a whopping $45.

It was hard to breathe, it was impossible to walk, and dancing basically turned into moshing. The sweat that stuck to everyone’s clothes (or the skin of shirtless men) was unbearable, and I’m not even going to begin describing the smell or the feeling of a stranger’s arm or back rubbing against yours.

What made the audience even worse was the lack of consciousness. The crowd ranged from teens to mid-20s. The older people were drunk and the younger were popping pills. People were on the floor, amazed at how it felt to touch one another. Others were being mind-controlled behind their sunglasses by the green and yellow flashing lights.

While Crystal Castles, consisting of producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass, did perform at ULTRA Music Festival in 2009, this was not ULTRA and the duo is not rave music. Even though I’m sure Glass was enjoying every minute of the scene below her, being a notorious drunk on stage. At least she sobered up a little from their last visit to Miami because that show was more of a cry for help than a musical performance.

Not to say that Glass failed to entertain this time around. Her vocals were still inaudible for the most part, her body drenched from bouncing around, yet she kept banging on the drums or banging her head, and she even crowd surfed. Fan favorites Baptism, Celestica, Empathy, and Intimate and Alice Practice, from their first album, were all somewhat altered live, but still widely entertaining and dance-inducing.

The show lasted until around 2:30 am. After that all the drunk drivers were released to wreak havoc on the streets of Miami. It was definitely a night to remember, although for the majority, that may prove to be difficult.

Go Canes?

The minds of University of Miami students were on one thing Thursday: football. Then again, maybe not every single student…

Although it might have seemed as if all UM classes were checkerboards of orange and green, there were some students that donned their everyday clothes and had other things to worry about.

You are not alone!

In fact, in one specific lecture hall of about 80 students, more than 20 seemed uninterested in the game that evening. Does that make them lacking in school spirit? While some tailgating junkies may think being indifferent about your university’s football team is taboo, why should students who have never been fascinated by the sport all of a sudden act as if it’s the most exciting thing once they enter college?

There’s no need to fake your love. It’s okay to not like football and it’s completely acceptable not to skip your afternoon class to chug a few beers, splatter on some face paint and go scream until you sound like a pre-pubescent boy.

Let’s say you don’t like football, in fact: you don’t even know the difference between a pass and a kickoff, and when someone uses the acronym QB you think they just mispronounced QT (aka cutie). Don’t sweat it. There are others like you out there, and you won’t be chastised for not dressing up and getting pumped for the game.

Plus, it’s not like the Miami Hurricanes are number one (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/04/college-football-rankings-2010_n_703646.html#s133600).  So unless your team is the Alabama Crimson Tide, winners of the national championship last year, don’t knock yourself down for not dying your hair half orange and half green for every game that comes along.

There are plenty of other things to do, especially in Miami. For one, you can take this opportunity to go eat out somewhere that would usually be packed with fellow Canes. If you feel somewhat guilty about not being school-spirited, go to Stir Moon (http://stirmoon.com/) and get the Miami Hurricane Roll. Invite a friend to go shopping or to a movie. If people you know wish they could go to the game, invite them over and have a get together at your place: have the game playing in the background for those who want to see it and start up a separate conversation near the chip bowl for those who don’t. If the day’s nice, take a beach trip or go to a nearby pool. The list of Plan B’s is infinite, but the important thing is to find something YOU like.

The truth is, not everyone likes football and even though you might feel left out of the loop, there are plenty of others who would love to be out of that loop with you. College is a time to find yourself, to become an independent adult, so make your own decision because you only get four years in here anyway!

P.S. Just in case you don’t know the correct terminology and want to go to your first game before you graduate, here’s a website to skim over: http://www.firstbasesports.com/football_glossary.html