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    For indie filmmaker Bernardo Britto, Miami sets the scene for his next award-winning project.

    Bernardo Britto
    Bernardo Britto with his film Yearbook (INSET), which won the Short Film Jury Award for Animation at Sundance.

    Up until a few years ago, the only award of note that Bernardo Britto had ever won was that of “Best Legs” in high school. That has certainly changed. In January, the 25-year-old filmmaker was awarded the Short Film Jury Award for Animation at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival for his film Yearbook, a darkly comic piece in which a man must compile a thoughtful history of human existence before the planet explodes. This, following a Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short at the American Film Institute’s AFI Fest in 2013 for his previous film, The Places Where We Lived, created a double whammy, which led noted industry bible Filmmaker magazine to christen Britto one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” last summer. “It’s all completely insane,” says Britto, still a little flabbergasted by the rush of acclaim. “I never imagined this could happen so fast. None of it seems real.”

    Born in Brazil and raised north of Miami in Weston, the young Britto had always been obsessed with film but had trouble admitting it. The fact that he was writing scripts in notebooks by the eighth grade should have been a dead giveaway. “I was a closeted film fan,” says Britto. “I didn’t want to tell people that I wanted to be a filmmaker because it seemed like such an arty, lofty, crazy dream. I was embarrassed by it, so for a long time I said I wanted to be an architect.”

    He couldn’t stifle his passion for long, however, and by high school he was making short films starring his brother and childhood friends. When they weren’t available, Britto, who loved to draw in his spare time, began dabbling with animation on the family PC. He was hooked.

    That passion for all things animated and the off-kilter, melancholic tone of his work thus far would be nurtured through his years as a film production major at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and via commissions from the noted Miami film collective Borscht Corporation, which yielded his two award-winning shorts.

    With his name making the rounds through the film world, and a whirlwind schedule that finds him shuttling back and forth between New York and Miami, Britto is now in preproduction for his next project: a live-action, feature-length movie to be shot between here and Argentina. “It’s exciting, in part because I don’t want to get pegged as strictly an animator,” says Britto. “I love live action, and there’s a lot more I want to do.”

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    The Cleveland Orchestra opens its winter season this month.

    The Cleveland Orchestra
    The Cleveland Orchestra at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

    Miami may have surrendered LeBron James to his Cleveland hometown, but all is not lost: We do get the Cleveland Orchestra. Since 2007, the revered ensemble has traveled to the Knight Concert Hall in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts downtown for an annual winter residency. It’s a blending of two urban identities that has paid off for both. “It’s an interesting hybrid,” says Holly Hudak, managing director of the orchestra’s Miami residency. “You have an old, established city that is making its way back to robustness, and you have a young city that is growing very fast.”

    On November 14 and 15, the orchestra presents the rising young Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadagli in Joaquín Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez. The program, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, also includes pieces by Tchaikovsky, Respighi, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Music Director Franz Welser-Möst leads the orchestra in symphonies by Beethoven and Shostakovich on February 27 and 28, and in the epic Symphony No. 6 of Gustav Mahler on March 6 and 7. The season closes March 26 to 28 with three Guerrero-led performances of Carl Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana, with soloists Nadine Sierra, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, and baritone Stephen Powell. Says Hudak of the Cleveland Orchestra’s commitment to excellence, “Once you get that sound in your head, it stays with you and becomes part of your understanding of beauty.” Knight Concert Hall, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-949-6722

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    A new crop of residential properties across Miami are bringing in big-name chefs to up the ante.

    Paraiso Bay in Edgewater will include a bayfront restaurant by chef Michael Schwartz.
    Paraiso Bay in Edgewater will include a bayfront restaurant by chef Michael Schwartz.

    After walking through the south entrance of The Setai in South Beach (2001 Collins ave., Miami Beach, 305-520-6000)—the residents-only entrance on 20th street—it’s a short stroll through the action of the hotel, underneath its Touzet Studio-designed tower, to The Setai’s flagship restaurant, The Restaurant at The Setai by chef Mathias Gervais. This is Miami’s archetypal fusion of high-end residential tower, marquee restaurant, and (sometimes) hotel within a single structure—and it’s something we’ll see a lot more of in the near future.

    It’s all part of a purposeful effort on the part of developers to put as much attention into ground floor retail spaces as they do into the palaces in the sky above them. Cuisine is one of those categories—like the visual arts, architecture, shopping, and (finally) environmental sustainability—that is really on the rise in Miami, a fact that’s inescapable for any residential property developer looking for that next amenity that will attract the affluent.

    Some are taking the food element to the next level, embracing the farm-to-table movement with in-building vegetable gardens. It’s farm-to-condo or bust. A few blocks north of The Setai, at 1 Hotel & Homes (2399 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-361-5100), New York-based celebrity chef Tom Colicchio hopes to have a vegetable garden for his new, as yet unnamed restaurant within the condo/hotel project. “I would love to figure out a way to actually grow up on the roof,” says Colicchio. “We have a system that we use in New York where we’re growing food in milk crates, and it’s really effective.” The restaurant itself will be “mostly seafood” and, being that we live in such a warm climate, make use of olive oil instead of butter, resulting in a menu that’s Mediterranean-ish.

    The Related Group is partnering with hospitality giant Sam Nazarian on Hyde Midtown, a Miami condo-hotel project under the nightclub brand.
    The Related Group is partnering with hospitality giant Sam Nazarian on Hyde Midtown, a Miami condo-hotel project under the nightclub brand.

    This being his first foray into South Florida restaurateuring, Colicchio has also said he’ll lean on local friend and fellow celebrity chef Michael Schwartz for tips. Schwartz himself is working on a restaurant at The Related Group’s Paraiso Bay, a private residential community that recently broke ground in Edgewater. The restaurant, which is also as yet unnamed, will be located in Paraiso’s Beach Club, a bayfront amenity accessible by land and by dock. “Seeing the success of places like Seasalt & Pepper and The Standard, we realized there weren’t that many places in Miami to get something to eat or drink accessible by water, and we decided to introduce the beach club concept into some of our projects,” says Carlos Rosso, president of Related’s condo division. Here, Related is also considering creating a garden with Schwartz that’s integrated into the community park the company is building adjacent to the Beach Club.

    Related is getting into this trend in a big way. The company is currently partnering with hospitality giant Sam Nazarian on four announced projects: SLS Brickell, where Schwartz and fellow chef José Andrés (known for his Bazaar at the SLS South Beach) are working on restaurants; SLS Lux, where chef Katsuya Uechi will have an outpost of his restaurant Katsuya; and two condo/hotel projects under the Hyde (nightclub) brand, in Midtown Miami and Hollywood Beach.

    A rendering of Hyde Resort and Residences Hollywood in Hollywood Beach.
    A rendering of Hyde Resort and Residences Hollywood in Hollywood Beach.

    The two-towered Brickell Heights project is where Related first explored the idea of including vegetable gardens in its projects, a notion that has expanded to five Related buildings with a whopping 15 planting beds total. “When we started working with the chefs, more and more of them started talking about doing gardens,” says Rosso. “The health-consciousness of Brickell Heights, which will include an Equinox gym, made the garden a logical inclusion there.”

    Related has commissioned local green thumb Dylan Terry to install the beds; his company, Ready-to-Grow Gardens, will tend them once a month. Creating community gardens within luxury condo towers, as well as giving the residents the option of planting and growing their own vegetable plots within the building, is something very new. Of course the burgeoning popularity of urban farming, a perfect idea for Miami’s year-round growing climate, is one reason green plots are appearing on amenity decks across Miami. As our city urbanizes, the available real estate for urban gardens will just as likely be the tops of residential buildings, next to the pool, as underutilized pieces of land.

    It turns out, incorporating well-known restaurants and rooftop gardens into luxury residential buildings isn’t an entirely novel concept—grand apartment houses of the early 20th century often had both gardens and eateries. The Dakota in New York originally came with a large dining hall that no longer exists. Nearby, the famous Café des Artistes was built to feed the residents of the Hotel des Artistes, and just up Broadway the Ansonia had a farm on the roof complete with livestock for its first three years of existence, until the New York City Department of Health shipped the animals off to Central Park in 1907. That’s something Miamians won’t be seeing on any South Florida properties—unless, of course, it’s of the Britto or Koons variety.

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    The latest design news from Miami.


    Armani/CasaFrom Armani/Casa, the Hector chair ($16,500) evokes the club armchairs of the Art Deco era.

    Take a Seat: Anyone considering a condominium in The Residences by Armani/Casa (Jorge Pérez and Gil Dezer’s new Sunny Isles development) might want to think about furnishings from the same luxury atelier. Suitable for almost any Miami residential setting, Armani/Casa’s new Hector chair ($16,500) offers a fresh take on the grand club chairs of the Art Deco era, with classic curved and geometric lines defining a silhouette that’s both cozy and contemporary. Upholstered in Italian cavallino leather, the chairs are available in orange, light brown, cappuccino, and light cream. Miami Design District, 10 NE 39th St., 305-573-4331

    Charlotte Dunagan

    French Accent: If you’re in the business of creating interiors that emanate good taste, it helps to be French. Having an interior designer and an antiques dealer for parents doesn’t hurt, either. Interior designer Charlotte Dunagan can lay claim to both of these attributes. Dunagan works with her own in-house architects and a committed group of tradespeople on everything from exterior surfaces and finishes to appliances, cabinets, and millwork—as well as furnishings and art. “I’m a strong believer in building structures that are timeless and create a very sophisticated background that we will love forever,” she says. 4040 NE Second Ave., Ste. 306, Miami, 305-438-0130


    Stow Simple: Any Miami minimalist can use an extra storage unit—especially if it sports a sleek profile. The new Archive cabinet with invisible casters by Jessica Signell Knutsson for Asplund is just the ticket. The award-winning cabinet is available with a drawer and shelf or door and comes in white stained oak, black walnut oak, or white lacquered oak through designer Nacho Polo’s StudioTwentySeven. 601 NE 36th St., Ste. 3205, Miami, 305-613-9916

    Coming Up Roses: Dornbracht’s new Cyprum rose-gold finish, made from 18k fine pink gold and copper, is taking the company’s kitchen and bath fixtures to a glistening new level. The finish is Dornbracht’s answer to an overall warming trend toward richer copper and bronze. Cyprum launches on the manufacturer’s Tara kitchen and Mem bath fixtures, with kitchen faucets starting at $3,176 and bath faucets at $3,228. Decorator’s Plumbing, 3612 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-576-0022


    For the Connoisseur: Need a gift for a hard-to-please oenophile? Consider a limited-edition leather briefcase holding Lalique 100 Points crystal universal wine glasses designed by wine critic James Suckling. “Over my four-decade career, I have tasted some 160,000 wines,” says Suckling. “I need to have my same wine glasses and briefcase in hand wherever I am in the world.” Crafted by Salvatore Ferragamo for Lalique, the briefcase comes in two limited editions—a red edition ($8,500) containing four 100 Points universal glasses and a Black edition ($12,500) with two exclusive black-stemmed universal glasses and two different 100 Points-rated wines. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-537-5150


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    Find out what's new on the Miami fashion scene this month.

    Louis VuittonThese Louis Vuitton suits are designed with the frequent flyer in mind.

    Travel and Leisure: Just in time for party season comes Louis Vuitton’s first permanent suiting collection, which will be exclusively carried in only four select stores throughout the US, including Aventura. Made for the man who travels, the suits are available in subtle patterns, including plaid, and are fabricated in light, dry, breathable wool. Interior pockets specifically are sized to hold boarding passes, passports, and mobile phones, and the shoulders of the jacket are deconstructed, without a shoulder roll, so as to hang sharply yet in a relaxed fashion. The collection features 15 single- and double-breasted styles, for the gentleman jetting to Cartagena, Shanghai, and everywhere in between. Aventura Mall, 19571 Biscayne Blvd., 305-931-3887

    Proenza Schouler

    Poolside With Proenza: Proenza Schouler launches its first line of swimwear this month, inspired by surf and skate culture and past runway prints and hardware. Encompassing bikinis, maillots, and pareos, the pieces have the brand’s signature tomboy flair, focusing on an active lifestyle. To complement their first foray into traditional resort wear, designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough also launched their debut capsule collection of espadrilles along with the swim offerings. A distinctive black and white raffi a sole with a colored leather strap helps complete the cool-kid beach look. Barneys New York, 832 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-421-2010

    Red jewel clutch.Jimmy Choo’s limited-edition bejeweled ruby clutch.

    Miami Vices: Accessories powerhouse Jimmy Choo brings its latest incarnation of shoes and bags to the Magic City. The collection of bejeweled pieces was envisioned by Creative Director Sandra Choi in the vein of vices such as envy and seduction, owing to the transformative powers and ambiguity of the stones. Each limited-edition piece, such as the ruby clutch that “is fiery with ambition,” will be available exclusively at select Jimmy Choo locations, including the brand’s Bal Harbour boutique. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-3656

    Let's Hear it for the Boys: World-renowned boutique The Webster expands at Bal Harbour Shops with a new location for the boys only. The 1,700-square-foot jewel box will be The Webster’s fi rst dedicated men-only shop from Laure Heriard Dubreuil, and the fashion roster includes hard-to-fi nd brands such as Thom Browne, Bamford, and Comme des Garçons. Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-868-6544

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    Now more than ever, what Miami needs is a good interior designer.

    Deborah Rosenberg
    Interior decorator Deborah Rosenberg launched, design services via video chat, to meet a growing demand.

    As an interior decorator and founder of DiMare Design, Deborah Rosenberg has spent more than 12 years designing ultraluxury residential and commercial spaces worldwide. Recently Rosenberg, like many designers, saw the need for high-end luxury designs as more than 35,000 condo units are being proposed in the area from South Beach to West Palm. In response, she launched—design services provided virtually, via video chat—which she calls “interior decorating on a dime.” Says Rosenberg, “It’s about creating spaces to bring out the best in someone and designing a space around what a client is seeking at this moment in their life and for the future.”

    Creating optimal spaces has always been a passion of Rosenberg’s, who has also designed for children and adults with autism, ADHD, and Asperger’s, and others with sensory challenges. She focuses on combining precise textures, colors, shapes, and scents with aesthetics. “We all have special needs,” she says, “whether we are on the autistic spectrum, suffer from depression, or enjoy watching the birds on the beach while drinking our morning coffee.”

    Here, the designer shares her list of favorite places for finding hidden home gems: “For home accessories, I like Jalan Jalan (Miami Design District, 3921 NE Second Ave., 305-572-9998), South Beach Linens—Carlotta, the owner, is incredible and has the loveliest Southern drawl—and any store or little hideaway that carries big, beautiful, new and old, wondrous books that can be displayed and strewn throughout a home. St. Regis Boutique carries great books.”

    A well-designed space in Miami “should reflect informal luxury,” says Rosenberg. “It should conjure up images of sun, walking barefoot, feeling the breeze of the ocean through the windows, light fabrics and colors. It should have sofas for lounging during the day and entertaining at night. Artefacto (17651 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura, 305-931-9484) is a great store for furnishings in Miami. The style and selections are perfect for this climate and lifestyle and incorporate a lot of white while using many organic, textural materials.” As for raw materials? Opustone (Miami Design District, 4100 N. Miami Ave., 305-764-3155): “Their selections are like jewels.”

    “And right now, I love, love, love hanging chairs. They are one of the most perfect types of furniture known to man. The Swingrest from Dedon (Clima Outdoor, Miami Design District, 3650 N. Miami Ave., 305-576-8181) literally rocks.” DiMare Design, 500 NW 165th St., Miami, 786-629-9581

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    Living a vegan lifestyle is not just a fad flying through American culture like the yo-yo diet or, on the other end of the spectrum, the cronut craze. Contrary to the stigma, the menus at Miami's vegan restaurants are not limited; they're bursting with possibilities to find and savor uplifting flavors. Here, our favorites in honor of World Vegan Month. 

    Supercharged Quinoa Burger at Mi Vida Cafe

    Quinoa burger.

    No cell phones are allowed at Mi Vida Cafe, where the staff purposefully runs out of ingredients to maintain freshness and minimize waste. The peaceful atmosphere is enhanced by the energizing (and filling) Supercharged Quinoa Burger. It's a house-made patty of the popular superfood, which is loaded with protein, fiber, and minerals, and it sits atop a bed of local greens with cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh hummus, sprouts, slices of avocado, and an arugula salad mix. 7244 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-759-6020

    Curry Favor at Temple Whole Food Plant Based Kitchen

    At Temple Kitchen, healthy living devotees clamor for the unprocessed whole food served in an approachable way. Reach for the hearty Curry Favor, a hot dish with house-made green curry, red chili, fresh mushrooms, eggplant, edamame, and coconut milk served over organic wild rice. 5831 Sunset Dr., South Miami, 305-397-8732

    Mental Lentil at Choices Organic Cafe

    Lentil wrap.

    In 2011, Choices Cafe started pushing Miami veganism into the spotlight with an array of plant-based options that don't compromise taste. The Mental Lentil wrap is a showstopper at either location. Choose your wrap—organic whole grain, organic brown rice, or organic collard leaf—and dive into the mash-up of lentil patty, black beans, quinoa, pico de gallo, plantains, sautéed onions, cheese, avocado, and the creamiest tahini sauce. (Tip: You can make your own pancakes at the UES location every weekend from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.) 711 N.W. 27th Ave., Miami, 786-953-6053; 646 N.E. 79th St., Miami; 786-803-8352

    Raw Lasagna at Basil Park

    The maxim at Basil Park in Sunny Isles is "Eat to Live," but many guests find themselves living for the vegan lasagna. It's a cold yet comforting combo of zucchini, summer squash, and portobello mushrooms layered with pine nut "ricotta" and sun-dried tomatoes. Aged balsamic vinegar is drizzled on top with local micro basil from Harpke Family Farm. 17608 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles, 305-705-0004

    Sweet Surrender at JugoFresh

    Vegan key lime pie.

    As a bonus for Thanksgiving, JugoFresh created four signature vegan pies available for pre-order through Monday, November 24. Each raw, gluten-free pie will be ready for pickup on November 26 at the South Pointe and Coral Gables locations. Choose from the key lime pie with coconut flakes and chlorella (green algae) dusting, the chickpea cookie dough pie with raspberry coulis and sliced fruit, the coconut carrot pie with pineapple and coconut icing, and, naturally, the pumpkin pie with superberry pumpkin seed crunch. 40 S. Pointe Dr., Miami Beach, 786-472-2552; 1430 S. Dixie Hwy, Coral Gables


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    Conservation International's new Nature Is Speaking campaign seeks to redefine the conversation about the relationship between people and nature. In a series of short films, celebrities lend their voices to parts of nature, such as the rainforest, ocean, and redwood. All deliver an important message everyone needs to hear: Nature doesn't need people. People need nature.

    This week's film features Robert Redford as The Redwood. Watch below and learn more on

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    Meat Market's Sean Brasel has called South Florida home since the mid-90s—that's two decades spent exploring Miami's culinary scene. Here, the star chef shares five local restaurants he keeps on heavy rotation via our friends at Find. Eat. Drink.

    Lure Fishbar

    Shellfish platter.

    What draws Brasel to this seafood spot inside the Loews Hotel? It's scrumptious platters, well-stocked raw bar, fresh sushi, and lots of variations on fish. “I love Josh Capon’s take on seafood," he says. "The branzino is one of the best I’ve had.” 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-695-4550


    Artistic restaurant dish.

    If you're looking for intimate, go elsewhere. SHIKANY serves up beautiful meals within its bustling 4,000-square-foot lounge-esque space in a converted warehouse. “Have you seen their Instagram? Every dish is a work of art," Brasel says. 251 N.W. 25th St., Miami, 305-573-0690

    MC Kitchen

    Italian dessert.

    It's hard to resist a visit to MC Kitchen once you've tried Chef Dena Marino's modern Italian cooking. “Garganelli Bolognese with house-made sausage; enough said.” 4141 N.E. Second Ave., #101A, Miami, 305-456-9948

    Basil Park

    Fruit over granola.

    Brasel sends his compliments to the chef at Basil Park, where you'll hear buzzwords like sustainable, grass fed, free range, organic, wheat free, and no hormones, antibiotics, or processed sugars. “Tim Andriola is doing amazing vegan dishes without sacrificing flavors; love the lasagna.” 17608 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach, 305-705-0004

    Oishi Thai

    Thai fish dish.

    Piyarat Potha Arreeratn a.k.a. Chef Bee was a sushi chef at Nobu and worked with Chef Kevin Cory at Siam River before opening his Biscayne Boulevard restaurant, which can call Brasel a fan. “Chef Bee has some amazing dishes on the menu—in particular, the oyster cocktail with uni.” 14841 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami, 305-947-4338

    Want More? Download the Find. Eat. Drink. App 

    Find. Eat.  Drink. is the first travel guide app curated by the world’s top chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and food stars passing along their favorite places to eat, drink, and food shop around the globe.

    find eat drink app

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    Having a hand-rolled cigar with a stiff drink is one of the best ways to relax after a huge holiday feast—and an excuse to step outside for a few precious moments of silence. To help enhance your experience, we've paired up popular spirits with the perfect smoke.

    Glenlivet 18 + Ashton Virgin Sun Grown

    Ashton cigar.

    Glenlivet is a favorite among scotch drinkers and a natural pairing for a vibrant cigar like Ashton Virgin Sun Grown. The spirit’s complex palate with hints of honey and walnut are balanced by Ashton VSG’s bold espresso notes layered with dark chocolate—a match for the full, yet sweet single malt.

    Martell XO + Arturo Fuente Anejo

    Martell XO cognac

    There are few better pairings for a cigar than an aged cognac like Martell XO. Its initial spice is mellowed by the rich fruit flavors of fig, speckled with almond and walnut. The spirit’s intensity begs for a maduro like the Arturo Fuente Anejo, a rare cigar aged in a cognac barrel, giving it a rich, spicy flavor balanced by a delicate sweetness.

    Maker's MarkOliva Serie V Melanio Maduro

    Torpedo cigar.

    Due to its subtlety, Maker's Mark is one of the most popular whiskeys to chase a stogie. The medium-bodied spirit boasts layers of vanilla, warm spices, and ginger, with a slight touch of smoke. It pairs well with a wide range of cigars, but taking it in with the powerful Oliva Seria V Melanio Maduro shows why opposites attract; a glass of Maker's elevates the big leather notes and caramel nuances of the smoke without overpowering it.

    Pyrat Cask 1623 + Don Diego Corona c.1970

    Pyrat Cask rum.

    A medium-bodied cigar with creamy undertones lays out a flawless foundation to enjoy a high-end dark rum like Pyrat Cask 1623. Full of bright citrus with a honeyed and smooth finish, the spirit is a great partner for the Don Diego Corona c.1970, rolled in the Canary Islands and known for its mellow, creamy character with a subtle finish.

    Stoli Vanilla + Montecristo White

    Montecristo White cigar.

    While most will tell you that vodka is not the right drink to enjoy with a stogie, Stoli Vanilla can be an exception to this rule. The creamy notes in the vodka complement a cigar that has a bit of sweetness to it, like a Montecristo White Label—smooth, flavorful, and mild. 


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    Naomi Grossman tells us why "Pepper fans are going to be pleased" with the rest of American Horror Story: Freak Show, set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida.  

    Naomi Grossman.Naomi Grossman. 

    If you're an American Horror Story devotee, you know Pepper—the first "freak" to be featured in two different seasons of the often-terrifying TV show. But do you know the woman behind the costume? She's accomplished actress Naomi Grossman, who undergoes an intense two-hour transformation to get in character. As the fourth season of Freak Show comes to a climax, we talk with Grossman about the secretive audition process, Pepper’s journey, and shaving her head.

    Tell us about auditioning for the part of Pepper for season two of American Horror Story. Were you up against people that actually had microcephaly?
    NAOMI GROSSMAN: I didn’t see any people with microcephaly, but [there were] little people. In fact, I was the giant in the room and I thought there was no way in hell that I could get this role. Fortunately it all worked out, but I had no idea really what was in store. Even after I was cast, it took a while before I really figured out what it was.

    Were you surprised when they called you to come back for season four?
    I don’t know that I was totally surprised because it makes sense. Ryan [Murphy, the show’s director] recycles actors and the freak show seems like a perfect fit [since] Pepper was modeled after Schlitzie, the well-known freak show performer from the 1930s—it sort of made sense.

    Was shaving your head a hard decision?
    As they were sort of creating the character physically, it became apparent that a bald cap would require another couple of hours in the makeup chair, which of course I was happy to do if it meant being able to keep my hair. But at the same time, I’m an actress and this is what we do for our art [and] clearly they knew what they were doing.

    Any regrets about shaving your head?
    Oh, absolutely not! Honestly, I think all women should. It’s liberating.

    How long is the process of turning you into Pepper?
    It takes about two-and-a-half hours. It consists of a nose, brows, ears, man hands, fake teeth, and a contact lens. Of course [there is] the shaved head and they have a thing with the little pigtail that they apply, as well.

    Naomi Grossman as Pepper.Naomi Grossman as Pepper (left).

    Do you get recognized even though you look so different from Pepper?
    You know, it’s amazing, I do. I didn’t at first, especially during Asylum. I remember the first time it happened, I thought, “Oh my God, on one hand I’m so excited because it’s all I’ve ever wanted, but then on the other hand I’m like great, I just got recognized as the ugliest girl on television. Is that good? Should I be happy right now?” Since then, here in New Orleans, I would say on a daily basis somebody comes and asks me to take a photo. Of course my little bald head gives it away.

    Is this season going to explore how Pepper ended up at Briarcliff Manor in season two, Asylum?
    Well, Ryan Murphy has said that this was Pepper’s origin story, so I can repeat what Ryan said—we’ll be seeing Pepper’s origin.

    What is it like working alongside legends like Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, and Angela Bassett?
    It’s really thrilling—it’s like an acting master class. Jessica Lange makes it so easy. There’s some really juicy stuff coming up, which when I first read it I thought, “Oh God, how am I going to do this?” [But] Jessica Lange makes it so easy. All you have to do is everything they teach you in acting class: be present, be in the moment. If you do that, she will get you where you want to go emotionally. Kathy is a hoot. She’s such fun on set and so humble. Angela, too; she’s just so lovely, like a girlfriend. It’s amazing.

    Do you have any stories from your time shooting the show?
    There was a clothing-optional club in New Orleans, which the freaks and I frequented. I bullied Meep [played by Ben Woolf] into taking all of his clothes off, which I shouldn’t be proud of. Yet, he does claim it was one of the best days of his life. So, you’re welcome Meep.

    What can we expect from the rest of this season of American Horror Story?
    I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say there will be deaths. I mean, it is American Horror Story; this isn’t an ABC Family after-school special. It’s going to get freaky [and] there will be blood. Pepper fans are going to be pleased. 

    Watch Grossman as Pepper on American Horror Story on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.


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    Your Art Basel social calendar might already be packed with parties, but you'll need to take a break eventually; we suggest fueling up between events at these five spots.

    Tapas All Day at SHIKANY

    Crispy pork belly.Leche de tigre crispy pork belly.

    SHIKANY in Wynwood is switching up its schedule during Art Basel by opening for lunch with a full tapas menu and continuing through to dinner at 5:30 p.m., with three- and six-course prix-fixe tasting menus. There’ll be 10-12 small plates daily, with options like leche de tigre crispy pork belly, citrus duck confit, foie lollipops, and an oyster flight—let the midday cravings begin. 251 N.W. 25th St., Miami, 305-573-0690

    Cuban Fare and Chrome Hearts in the Design District

    Miami staple David's Cafe is taking over the ground floor of the nothing-short-of-amazing Chrome Hearts pop-up shop, serving its classic menu of sandwiches, coffee, and pastelitos, plus two new items: iced cold-brew coffee with fresh whipped cream and Cuban espresso ice cubes, and a pressed veggie Cubano sandwich. Nestled between a 15-foot-tall living garden and a wall-to-wall chocolate bar, guests can opt to dine inside the café and peruse artwork by LA-based illustrator Matt DiGiacomo, or sit outside under an installation of hanging orchids and a Chrome Hearts silk scarf canopy. After grabbing a bite, browse Chrome Hearts' jewelry collections in the main room. 4025 N.E. Second Ave., Miami

    Alter's Preview Pop-Up Dinner Series

    Steak tartare.Steak tartare.

    Gearing up for his upcoming Wynwood restaurant, Alter, Chef Bradley Kilgore is hosting a series of pop-up dinners during Art Basel as a preview of what's to come. Kilgore is calling in local chefs to help him prepare four courses for nightly seatings at 7 and 9:30 p.m. at the new Miam Café & Boutique. Expect a schedule of collaborations with the likes of Azul's Chef William Crandall, Eating House's Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and more—and on December 3, contemporary artist Austyn Weiner joins Kilgore to unveil her latest works. 2750 N.W. Third Ave., Ste. 21, Miami; Buy tickets here

    Michelle Bernstein's Botanical Garden Duo

    Chef Michelle Bernstein's pop-up is back this year with two ways to dine gardenside: get casual cuisine at Garden Café or settle in for a formal affair at Michy's Pop Up. Set in the Miami Beach Botanical Garden near the convention center, the Garden Café will serve up a menu of locally sourced, organic fare perfect for Art Basel attendees who want a healthy lunch in a chic setting. Michy's will take over for dinner service on December 3-6 with a daily menu of dishes from the restaurant, as well as tapas and Bernstein's signature South Florida-inspired cuisine. 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, 877-222-1742; Reservations required for dinner

    Andy Warhol Takeover at db Bistro Moderne

    Cocktail in an Andy Warhol soup can.Pop Art cocktail. 

    If you’re heading up to the 5th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis to see the “Andy Warhol at Christie’s” exhibit—or you just need a quick breather—you’ll find a fitting refresher at db Bistro Moderne. In honor of the pop-art icon, the restaurant is serving three Warhol-inspired cocktails: the Pop Art, composed of red wine, Coke, and lime juice and served in a Campbell's soup can; the Velvet Underground, crafted with gin, St-Germain, sparkling wine, hibiscus, and of course, a banana; and the Candy Darling, a mix of white wine, ginger liqueur, and soda with a mint ice ball. (Tip: Trade your exhibit ticket for a cocktail.) 255 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-421-8800


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    The Victoria's Secret model was one of many celebs who attended the grand opening of Miami's Siena Tavern. Find out who else was spotted in this week's celebrity sightings.

    Model Nina Agdal.Nina Agdal.

    A Star-Studded Crowd Gathers at Siena Tavern

    At the opening of Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani's Siena Tavern on Friday, November 7, Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret model Nina Agdal got cozy with luxury realtor Reid Heidenry, while other celebs made appearances—such as Calvin Klein model Garrett Neff, MC Kitchen's Chef Dena Marino, and Real Housewives of Miami stars Lisa Hochstein, Alexia Echevarria, and Marysol Patton. Ex-RHOM star-turned-author Ana Quincoces also stopped by, avoiding Hochstein when she entered.

    Eva Longoria Enjoys Dinner at Katsuya

    The actress and her boyfriend, Jose Antonio Baston, had dinner with two others at Katsuya by Starck on Friday, November 7. The couple ordered yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, a shrimp tempura roll, edamame, and shishito peppers. Baston drank Daishichi Houreki sake and Longoria had a Diet Coke, and they were said to be deep in conversation all night.

    Reggie Miller Dines at Zuma

    The retired basketball player was spotted having dinner and drinks with a friend at Zuma on Wednesday, November 19. 

    On Friday, November 14, actor and comedian Rob Corddry, dressed in a suit, was seen having quick dinner on Zuma's riverfront terrace. 

    Flo Rida Pops Bottles at E11even

    Rapper Flo Rida was at the owner's table on Saturday, November 15, toasting his nephew's birthday and popping bottles of Dom Pérignon and Cîroc.

    That same night, Atlanta Braves center fielder Melvin Emanuel "B.J." Upton was seen partying into the morning hours, sipping Dom Pérignon and Crown Royal in E11even's party pit.

    DJ Irie Headlines NASCAR After-Party

    Racing fans and drivers took the NASCAR after-party to WALL at W South Beach on Sunday, November 16 following the Sprint Cup Series at NASCAR Homestead-Miami Speedway Beach. DJ Irie was the headliner and one of the racers, Brian Vickers, was spotted at a table.

    Sports Stars Attend Rec Room's Rush Party

    On Thursday, November 6, former football player Bruce Smith and former basketball player Kurt Thomas were spotted at Rec Room's Rush party.


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    Entertaining at home during the holidays can be an intimidating endeavor for anyone—even the most sophisticated cocktail drinker. Premier Beverage mixologist Nick Nistico is here to help with five cocktail recipes that'll leave your guests wide-eyed and asking for more. 

    Pouring cocktails from a shaker.

    Last week top Miami influencers gathered for Ocean Drive and The Collection's Dine + Drive event, where attendees tasted bites from South Florida hot spots like Basil Park, Macchialina, Oak Tavern, Touché, and Mignonette—each dish complemented by a carefully selected fall cocktail courtesy of Premier Beverage and Nick Nistico, the group's corporate beverage program development specialist. The drinks were flowing as guests strolled through The Collection’s sprawling Coral Gables showrooms to visit each chef, taste each cocktail, and swoon over exotic cars. 

    With a handcrafted cocktail in hand, we caught up with Nistico to find out how he came up with each simply delicious drink. He generously shared his recipes from the event so we can all take our at-home bar game to the next level and impress our cocktail-loving friends and family over the holidays.

    Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned

    "A boozy bourbon-forward cocktail for the holiday season” –Nistico

    Old fashioned cocktail with cranberries.

    Nothing quite says fall like an Old Fashioned spiked with cranberries and spices. This cocktail is extremely simple, but it does require a little bit of work on the front end to make the bitters. Trust us: once you taste it, you'll know it was worth the time.

    2 oz. Old Forester bourbon
    .5 oz. mulling spice syrup
    4 dashes cranberry-spiced bitters

    To make the bitters:
    Mulling spice tea
    Fresh cranberries
    Overproof bourbon

    Make the mulling spice tea and cut with equal parts sugar. Separately, reduce equal parts fresh cranberries and water with equal part overproof bourbon and a handful of cloves and let it sit overnight. Fine-strain the bitters.

    To make the cocktail:
    Combine all ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into a highball with a large ice cube or sphere. Garnish with a few frozen cranberries.

    Celery Sage Gimlet

    “Celery and sage are two classic Thanksgiving flavors that pair well with the unique flavor of St. Augustine Gin. It's the perfect side cocktail for a variety of holiday dinner items.” –Nistico

    Celery sage gimlet cocktail.

    This showstopper features a relatively new Florida-style gin made from Florida sugar cane, orange, lemon, juniper cassia bark, angelica, and a secret blend of botanicals at a craft distillery in the nation’s oldest city. The celery ignites the complexity of St. Augustine Distillery Co.’s New World Gin, while the cranberry reduction gives it a smoothness you’ll recognize with the first sip.

    2 oz. St. Augustine New World Gin
    1 oz. fresh lime juice
    1 oz. simple syrup
    .5 oz. cranberry reduction
    3 leaves fresh celery chunks

    To make the cranberry reduction:
    Fresh cranberries 

    Bring equal parts water and fresh cranberries to a boil and reduce by half before straining into the mixing tin.

    To make the cocktail:
    Chop the celery. Add the ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice in a highball. Garnish with a sage leaf.

    Filthy 50/50

    “A twist on a dirty martini, the 50/50 is made with equal parts vodka and dry vermouth, and then finished with Filthy Olive Brine. Its salty-smooth taste stimulates the palate and prepares it for what’s next: good food.” –Nistico


    This is an elegant apéritif with a slightly lower alcohol content than a traditional martini, thanks to the stunningly dry French vermouth. A lively conversation is practically guaranteed when you present the Filthy Olives to your guests.

    1.5 oz. Stolichnaya Vodka
    1.5 oz. Noilly Prat vermouth
    1 oz. Filthy Olive Brine Martini Mix

    Combine ingredients with the brine from Filthy Food’s premium olive juice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Filthy Pickle Stuffed Olive (a cornichon stuffed inside hand-selected queen olives). 

    Coconut Basil Smash

    “The delicious combination of fresh basil and rich coconut cream make for the most refreshing cocktail.” –Nistico

    Coconut Basil cocktail.

    With all this talk of fall, Miami's perpetual summer may slip your mind. To keep it real, Nistico created a tropical drink with coconut cream to cool you off. After all, it is in the 80s.

    2 oz. Grey Goose Vodka
    1 oz. fresh lime juice
    .5 oz. simple syrup
    .5 oz. Coco Real Coconut Cream
    3 leaves fresh basil

    Combine ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain over ice in a highball. Garnish with coconut flakes (you can find these at the grocery store, along with Coco Real).

    Bay Leaf Cooler

    “Bay leaves are so delightfully floral—they pair perfectly with the clean flavor of Bombay London Dry.” –Nistico

    Bay leaf cocktail.

    The tart Bay Leaf Cooler is a lime lover’s dream. Nistico played with the classic gimlet cocktail to make it decidedly autumnal rather than summery with the help of aromatic dried bay leaves.

    2 oz. Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
    1 oz. fresh lime juice
    1 oz. simple syrup
    Dried bay leaves

    Add all ingredients with three whole bay leaves to the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice in a highball. Garnish with a lime wheel.


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    With his new South Beach iteration, Masaharu Morimoto strikes a delicious balance between tradition, experimentation, and whimsy.

    Morimoto Sashimi Terrine Dish
    Morimoto Sashimi Terrine—bite-size stacks of seared chu-toro, smoked salmon, eel, tuna, and hamachi—epitomizes the chef’s playful approach at Morimoto South Beach.

    On an unassuming balmy weeknight, deep within the newly renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand, South Beach’s restaurant scene has reached its apex. The setting is New York transplant Morimoto, where iron chef dominator Masaharu Morimoto’s expertly prepared plates pass among leggy models and famous DJs to the sound of untz-untz—a new context for the Iron Chef’s soul-satisfying food. But then you experience a piece of chu-toro (medium fatty tuna), shipped from Tokyo’s unmatched Tsukiji Fish Market within the last 48 hours, and for a brief moment you taste nirvana. Almost porcine in its glorious pink perfection, this is not a fish you chew and swallow—it just disappears in your mouth, like a dream you desperately want to retrieve.

    Millions of Food Network fans have seen Morimoto vanquish culinary competitors on Iron Chef America. With the Japanese flag proudly pressed on one sleeve, he may be the most intimidating of the Iron Chefs, perhaps because masterfully prepared Japanese food seems to command more reverence than almost any other cuisine. And it doesn’t hurt that viewers hear Chef Morimoto through a translator, adding to his air of gustatory godliness.

    Masaharu Morimoto and his kitchen staff
    Masaharu Morimoto and his dedicated kitchen staff.

    At his South Beach outpost, the sashimi is divine—the Morimoto Sashimi Terrine, a bite-size stack of seared chu-toro, smoked salmon, eel, tuna, and hamachi, is decadently so—but not all of the food at Morimoto is so precious. And that’s a good thing. The noodle bowls offer a hearty counterweight to the daintier dishes. The South Beach Chilled Noodle—cold, thick, nutty, served with a spoonful of pork sauce and drizzled with garlic chili oil—is especially good. Then there’s the unexpected uni carbonara, a Japanese- Italian fusion that features a piece of urchin and a raw quail egg atop a creamy bed of udon noodles. It’s one whimsical dish among several that Morimoto uses to break down his guests’ dietary reservations.

    “Playfulness is a key element in making a dish approachable,” he says. “Uni is not an ingredient that is very common or familiar to all guests. By the use of a familiar name (carbonara) and a common ingredient like noodles, it makes the dish more familiar and inviting. Since Japanese food can sometimes be considered too exotic or foreign, it is important that I take this approach without sticking to the traditions.”

    Morimoto Ceviche Local Ingredients South Beach
    The Morimoto Ceviche uses local seafood in a nod to its South Beach location.

    You get a hint of this approach just by browsing the menu, which includes such agreeable dish titles as tuna pizza and Duck Duck Duck. But when you taste the food, whether it’s an appetizer like the hamachi tacos or an entrée like the braised black cod in a ginger-soy reduction, you know Morimoto and his staff of focused cooks aren’t playing around.

    It’s this impeccable balance—between tradition and experimentation, quality and whimsy—that has made Morimoto one of the most recognized chefs in the world. Opening a location in Miami has always been in the plan, he says, so when a poolside space became available at the recently renovated Shelborne, he seized the opportunity. “Aligning myself with a hotel that has a deep-rooted legacy was important to me,” he says of the midcentury Art Deco landmark. “The new renovation of the entire resort is beautiful, combining elements of the original with modern-day design. This is similar to my cuisine, which combines traditional and modern flavors and techniques.”

    Morimoto restaurant interior design
    The interior of the restaurant has a club-like feel.

    While the menu does feature Miami-inspired offerings, including a lobster, conch, and white fish ceviche, it’s mostly signature Morimoto dishes. Sometimes that signature can be hard to detect, for example, with a raw piece of fish served on a humble bed of rice. And sometimes that’s where you’ll experience a taste of culinary bliss. Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-341-1329

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    With all the exhibits to see and parties to attend, you’re bound to need a cocktail (or five) to keep your spirits high during Miami's biggest event of the year. Here, we bring you four works of art that come in a glass in honor of Art Basel Miami Beach.

    Hand-Shaken Piña Colada at The Rum Line

    Pina colada.

    According to mixologist Rob Ferrara, the average person has probably never had a proper piña colada—meaning, one that's hand-shaken and made with fresh pineapple. It's time to change that. Swing by The Rum Line, the Caribbean-inspired alfresco hideaway perched on the terrace of the Loews St. Moritz Tower. His handcrafted chef d'oeuvre mixes Bacardi Superior and Caña Brava Rum with local coconut water from Coconut Cartel, pineapple, lime, and tiki bitters in a glass that's wrapped in banana leaves and garnished with an orchid. 1601 Collins Ave. Miami Beach, 305-695-0110

    Shooting Star at The Drawing Room

    Starfruit cocktail.

    For an entirely different type of artistic exhibition, head to Albert Trummer’s Drawing Room at the newly renovated Shelborne. “All of my drinks are inspired by the art of the cocktail," says the mixologist. "The ingredients are my paint and the glass is my canvas." In the case of the Shooting Star, Trummer drew inspiration from Van Gogh’s Starry Night, layering his crystal canvas with aloe vera, muddled starfruit, Belvedere Vodka, and Champagne and infusing it with one of his clandestine numbered elixirs. Be warned: a couple of these and Van Gogh's paintings start to come to life. 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-531-1271

    Basel Julep at Il Mulino

    Basil julep cocktail.

    You could sip a mint julep anywhere, but you won't find the Basel Julep anywhere but Il Mulino, located south of Fifth where you might escape the Basel crowds. The icy concoction calls for fresh muddled basil mixed with house-made berry purée, Beluga vodka, and lime juice; true to form, it’s then topped with ginger beer. While you're at Il Mulino, recharge with a bowl of pasta before the next show. 840 First St., Miami Beach, 305-372-1221

    Shrub Patch at Tamarina

    Beet martini.

    So you want to celebrate the fair—but far from it. Head down to Brickell where Tamarina serves a martini worth savoring. You won't miss the classic version once you try the Shrub Patch, a creatively vibrant cocktail that fuses bitters, fruits, and acids. A balsamic and beet shrub is made in-house and shaken with Russian Standard Vodka, Amaro Nonino, and fresh watermelon juice. Instead of throwing in an olive, basil floats above the drink, giving it a sweet, herbal, and contrasting finish—both in taste and presentation. 600 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-579-1888

    RELATED: Don't miss these five food and drink happenings during Art Basel>>


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    Ready, set...Basel. But before you get your art on, you’ll need to decide what to wear. Here, we've scoped out some hot items that will go perfect with this week's agenda. 

    Short Set for CONCEPT

    Two-piece matching T-shirt and shorts set.

    Daze Set, Style Mafia ($100). 2324 N.W. Fifth Ave., 786-801-0319

    In this smoke-inspired ensemble, you'll blend right in with the modern works at CONCEPT, the inaugural art fair aboard the docked Seafair mega yacht. While you will look chic, you won't be too overdressed as you board the ship perched downtown beside Bayfront Park. CONCEPT, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami

    Metal Choker for Design Miami

    Statement choker.

    Necklace Type II, Soli ($214). MVM, 175 23rd St., 305-573-4885

    Design Miami is all about the newest objets d’art, so why not wear one around your neck? This silver-and-bronze statement choker will dress up the simplest of outfits, and the adjustable length makes it work with any neckline. It’s the ultimate Basel accessory—as long as you don’t mind all eyes on you.

    Chain-Link Trousers for the After-Party

    Black pants with chain-links down the legs.

    Chain Link Trousers, Undercover ($1,610). Alchemist, 1109 Lincoln Road, 305-531-4653

    Love all-black everything? We've found your sartorial soul mate in these chain-link trousers. Both comfortable and versatile, they'll take your nighttime Basel look to the next level. Sport them to any after-party—specifically, the Gale's Disaronno Terrace (where you can see Jeremy Penn's new series, "The Evolution and the Ego," and hear DJ Christa Marie) or one of Solange’s six performances at SELECTGale Hotel, 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; SELECT, 7200-7300 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

    Boy Chanel Bag to Art Basel

    Green Chanel handbag.

    Large Boy Flap Bag, Chanel ($4,600). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-868-0550

    Your bag speaks 1,000 words, especially when it’s the latest from Chanel—the boy Chanel flap bag—and in a vibrant shade representative of Miami's subtropical climate. Pack your essentials inside and head to the main attraction: Art Basel Miami Beach, the art fair that started it all.

    Rockstud Pumps to Art Miami

    Black rockstud pumps.

    Rockstud Pumps, Valentino Garavani ($1,375). The Webster, 1220 Collins Ave., 305-674-7899

    What’s more fitting for a star-studded affair than studded Valentino pumps? Quite possibly, nothing. Slip them on for art- and celeb-browsing at Art Miami, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this Art Basel.

    Hoop Earrings for Pop-Up Shopping

    Cone charm mini hoop earrings.

    Cone Charm Hoop Earrings, Eddie Borgo ($150). ShopBAZAAR at Soho Beach House, 4385 Collins Ave., 786-507-7900

    Get dressed up to go pop-up-hopping with these blue-gemstone mini hoops. Purchase and wear them at Harper’s BAZAAR's pop-up boutique at Soho Beach House; then hit up Doreen Remen’s Art Markit and Vanity Projects' pop-up nail salon at Mondrian South Beach, or Lisa Roberts’ DesignPOP at The Wolfsonian Museum Shop. Mondrian, 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach; Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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    Starring in this month's eagerly anticipated Tim Burton film, Big Eyes, actress Krysten Ritter opens up about visiting Miami for Art Basel, music, love, and friendship—and how she's anything but a wallflower.

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress, J. Mendel ($6,900). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161

    Krysten Ritter dreams big. Raised on a cow and chicken farm in picture-postcard bucolic Pennsylvania, where she was bullied for her looks by classmates in school, she left the small-town life to pursue her own larger-than-life passions—first on the catwalks of New York, after being scouted at age 15, and soon after on the silver screens of Hollywood. She’s been in some 25 movies to date, and more than a dozen TV shows, and helms her own production company, Silent Machine. Her biggest break came courtesy of season two of Breaking Bad, where she stole Jesse Pinkman’s heart and crushed it after her character overdoses (as Walter White looked on, passively, letting her die). It was a pivotal point in the show—and in Ritter’s career. “I binged the first seven episodes in one day and thought, I want to be on it, and I don’t care if anybody sees it. Trusting your instincts like that is a great lesson, because when you listen to your gut, you can’t go wrong.”


    Throughout her journey, Ritter, 32, has gone with her gut, but she’s also taken to keeping her eyes firmly on her goals, literally, with a massive vision board that charts her wishes and future successes. “I have a giant one at all times, with projects that I’m working on and in development,” she says. Currently it hangs in the middle of her dining room in plain sight for anyone who enters her clean, minimal Hollywood home. And it’s not just about her professional life: “I also have a note for myself to do more charity work. I want to be doing good things in addition to developing TV shows and acting,” says Ritter. “I want to have a big life. I also have pictures of my girlfriends on it. For me, the things that are most important in life are feeling good, having important relationships and deep meaningful friendships, and going after work that I love, and creating work that I love.”

    This month, she can remove one of those key photos from the board: director Tim Burton, who’s had a prominent place on there for as long as she’s been acting. She finally got the chance to take his direction in Burton’s latest film, Big Eyes, which tells the fascinating story behind Margaret Keane’s iconic paintings (those ubiquitous posters of the soulful, otherworldly young children with the oversize, melancholic eyes).

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress, Lanvin ($3,325). Miami Design District, 150 NE 40th St., 305-864-4250. Artwork: As She Appeared in My Favorite Dream, Derek Weisberg.

    “For years, I kept bugging my manager and agent: When can I work with Tim Burton? When can I work with Tim Burton?” she says. “I was a huge fan of all of his movies growing up even before I knew what acting was or that you could make a [living] as an actress.”

    In Big Eyes, Ritter also realized another dream: working with her favorite actress, Amy Adams, who stars as painter Margaret Keane. “I was just in awe of her abilities; her acting is like jazz, it’s all just mesmerizing.”

    Ritter plays the role of the tell-it-like-it-is best girlfriend in the film, much as she does in real life. “She’s an empowering character,” she says of her role as DeeAnn. “Especially at a time where women didn’t really have a voice—as perfectly depicted in the movie—I like that my character wasn’t afraid to say what she thought. It’s close to who I am and what I would do for a friend; I say what’s on my mind and call things like I see it. I would never consider myself a wallflower.”

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress, Giorgio Armani ($2,475). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-861-1515. Untitled, Retna (on wall). Modular Pregnancy, Seth Fairweather.

    A true creative spirit who acts, writes, produces, sings, paints, spins pottery, and is “really into making things with my hands,” Ritter is excited to be in the thick of the explosion of art and ideas at Art Basel in Miami Beach this month. The last time she was in town, it was for a Jay Z concert, and she can’t wait to come back to luxuriate in the city’s famed balmy climate. “I’m always so enchanted by tropical vacations and the Caribbean, so it was a thrill to discover that’s accessible somewhere here in the [continental] United States,” she says, recalling her very first trip to the Magic City, when she and a girlfriend club-hopped around South Beach, hitting the likes of Nikki Beach.

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress, Carven ($950). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Ebano Metallo limited-edition ebony and polished stainless-steel necklace, Basile and Pape ($4,250). Untitled, Retna.

    The picture of cool, Ritter today is dressed all in black: ripped black jeans and a black tank—“what else is new?” she cracks—the perfect complement to her trademark obsidian bangs. Of her fashion sense, she says, “You get to choose how the world sees you every day by putting on your clothes. I like to be a little rock ’n’ roll, but feminine and comfortable. I’ll wear rock ’n’ roll boots, a cute little dress, and a leather jacket if the weather requires it.”

    As befitting her attire, Ritter is a rocker at heart: She is essentially a one-woman band, recording and playing under the moniker Ex Vivian, with production help from a pal. The new songs she’s been writing recently she describes as “cutesy and dark and girly...I’m happiest when I’m playing guitar and writing and expressing myself in that creative way—it’s a great detox from the grind of Hollywood for me.”

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress ($1,995) and black boots (price on request), Emilio Pucci. Miami Design District, 155 NE 40th St., #100, 305-576-1830. Sacred Dance of Illicit Memories, Retna.

    Music runs in her blood. Growing up, her dad played guitar, her grandmother played piano, and Ritter sang in the church choir. “And I’ve always dated musicians, even in high school,” she reports. She still does: Her current boyfriend is indie rock star War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel. “He’s my favorite artist,” she raves. He also sounds like a great, attentive boyfriend: Several bouquets of wildflowers and roses dotted around her home are all gifts from Granduciel.

    Their relationship couldn’t be more different from the sparring husband-and-wife artists in Big Eyes (Keane’s husband exploits and falsely takes credit for Margaret’s work as the paintings become an overnight sensation). For Ritter and Granduciel, the partnership is about championing one another’s creative selves, and having fun with expression. “He’s incredibly supportive and encouraging,” she says. “We played guitar together for a bit yesterday before he left on tour. He taught me a scale that I’m going to practice a bunch and try to blow his mind when he gets back.”

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress ($1,490) and nude wedge slip-ons ($895), Reed Krakoff. Saks Fifth Avenue, 7687 N. Kendall Dr., Miami, 305-662-8655. Open, Ray Hare (on wall). Untitled, Louise Nevelson (sculpture).

    Until then, she’s got her other big love to keep her company: her rescue pup, Mikey. “Tomorrow is his three-year anniversary with me. It’s incredible what this dog has done for me as a woman and as an adult, in grounding me. He used to bite people, and he was fearful and obviously abused. He’d been hit by a car when I got him, and now he’s a great dog. He goes with me everywhere, and he’s so well trained. When my friends come over, instead of trying to bite them, he’s happy to see them. He is a poster dog for rescuing and adoption.”

    She’s a vocal and passionate activist for animal adoption, as evidenced by her “Opt to Adopt” campaign with PETA. “Nobody should be buying a dog when 3 to 4 million dogs are euthanized every year in the most awful, inhumane ways. These are emotional, intelligent creatures,” she reasons. “If everybody chooses to adopt, we can change the world.”

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress and green gladiator sandals, Miu Miu (prices on request). Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-993-2300.Untitled, Retna (on wall). Untitled, Louise Nevelson (sculpture).

    A woman who now exudes an empowerment that seems solid and earned, Ritter had to navigate some particularly rough days as a teen. “When I became a model, it gave me some self-esteem and a place to belong. Up until then, my home life was a little rocky and the kids at school would totally pick on me, and then when I became a model, it almost got worse.”

    “You have to rise above it and burn bright. You can’t let other people’s issues destroy you or put your fire out, as cheesy as that sounds,” she says. “That was almost like boot camp for Hollywood, because you really have to let it slide off your back in Hollywood. With the Internet, people say horrible things about you, and you can’t let it affect you. If you worry about what other people are saying, then you’re not going to have the energy or the time or confidence to do all of the fabulous things that you can do.”

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress, Antonio Berardi ($4,410). Shoes, Alejandro Ingelmo ($995). Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-865-6161. Pillars, Seth Fairweather.

    She’s long since learned how to endure the ups and downs of the business and the extreme invasiveness that comes hand in hand with being in the spotlight.

    Today, yoga keeps her grounded, as does her creative work—be that music, acting, or writing/producing—and taking the time to cultivate deep friendships with a close crew of like-minded, fierce, self-made women who’ve all adopted rescue pups.

    Krysten Ritter
    Dress and black leather belt, Anthony Vaccarello X Versus Versace (prices on request). The Webster, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-868-6544. Black pumps, Jimmy Choo ($895). Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, 305-443-6124

    Of her resolve, she says, “I am an incredibly resilient fighter. I trust that there will always be ups and downs, and I trust that we’re on a roller coaster, and I don’t have to get off the roller coaster. I get to keep going.”

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    Get a glimpse behind the scenes at Krysten Ritter's Ocean Drive cover shoot.

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    Stuck on gift ideas? Impress those tricky people on your list with a luxury experience they’ll never forget. Here, seven finds that go way beyond anyone's expectations.

    For your parents:

    Suite in the MSC Divina.

    Give your travel-hungry parents a seven-day trip with no planning required. Reserve the ‘rents a suite aboard the MSC Divina when it sets sail on December 27 for a New Year’s cruise from the Port of Miami, stopping in Sint Maarten, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Mom and Dad can toast to 2015 with a five-course New Year's Eve dinner, followed by Champagne and dancing till midnight and beyond. Starting at $900 per person

    For the active senior:


    Appeal to your relatives’ adventurous side with a gift certificate they can use toward one of VBT's upcoming Bicycling Bordeaux & The River Dordogne tours. Not only will they be biking on easy trails through wine country and stopping for tastings, they'll also be dining and sleeping in a château—and everything is set from the moment they get picked up for the airport. Starting at $4,000 with airfare; Purchase by December 17 via 877-982-8443

    For your really good friend:

    Creed fragrance bottle.

    It's hard to find an absolutely perfect scent, but what if you could make one right at the source? With The House of Creed Bespoke Fragrance Journey, part of Neiman Marcus' Christmas Book, you and a friend can. Head on a first-class trip for two to Paris and work with Master Perfumer Olivier Creed to create your own fragrance. The package includes everything from dinner with Olivier to private tours, white-glove car service, and accommodations at a five-star hotel. Don't worry about transporting your custom scent home—it'll arrive a few months later in 24 14-karat gold flacons and 12 14-karat decorated leather atomizers. $475,000

    For the fitness junkie:

    Anatomy at 1220.

    A combination of fitness and sports science in a swanky nightclub-esque space, the new Anatomy at 1220 in Sunset Harbour will have your fitness-obsessed friends seeing the gym in a whole new light. The Privileged annual membership includes perks like a weekly personal training session, nutritionist consultations, VitaSquad infusions, oxygen chamber sessions, and access to fitness classes and steam rooms. Plus, club membership includes laundry service, a weekly car wash, and one massage per month. What other gym can boast these benefits? $1,500 per month (application and consultation required); 1220 20th St., Miami Beach, 786-213-1220

    For the overworked:

    Yoga retreat.

    The recipient of the ENERGIZE by Tara Stiles package is in for some serious relaxation. This new three-day health retreat at W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island (right off mainland Puerto Rico) includes daily yoga sessions designed by model-turned-yogi Stiles, plus meals and cooking sessions based on her new cookbook, "Make Your Own Rules Diet," to keep those New Year's resolutions intact. Participants will also take part in spa treatments and outdoor excursions like horseback riding on the beach and kayaking. $1,830 for three nights; 787-741-4100

    For the ladies:

    Essence Mineral Co-Ed Pool.

    Nothing beats a day at the spa after a busy holiday season, and the Fontainebleau has a package, appropriately called A Day at Fontainebleau, with all the right stuff to achieve post-party bliss. Your visit starts with a 50-minute treatment at Lapis, the Spa and continues with all-day access to the spa's facilities and an oceanside lunch at La Côte. Starting at $175 per person; 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-674-4772

    For the gents:

    Lou La Vie sports car fleet.

    Like Rent the Runway but for luxury sports cars, Lou La Vie gives members driving rights to the newest and hottest models hitting the streets, including the all-new Lamborghini Huracán. In addition to taking the rental cars out for a spin, the holiday membership special includes a day at the track when you'll test five models with a professional driver. $50,000 plus $10,000 one-time access fee; 1444 Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 113, Miami; Contact Sophie Konigsfeldt at or 305-989-3755

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