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I lived in South Florida for years and spent a lot of time in Miami.  My favorite time of year was August and September when all the tourists were gone, the ocean was warm and the afternoon rains would come.  I recently spent a week in Miami Beach catching up on those old feelings and seeing what’s new.


You don’t have to be a member to stay at Soho Beach House and I highly recommend it as a retreat away from the craziness of South Beach a bit further down the road.  Two fab pools, yummy food that can be served pool or beach side, and large beautiful rooms.  Love a room that comes set up with a complete bar for entertaining and a shower the size of a small New York apartment.

The James and SLS hotels are newer on Collins Ave and are in the center of it all.  Try The Raleigh or the Delano for South Beach old school style.  I would often see Madonna here in the eighties hosting dinner at the long table in the Delano lobby or swimming in that famous Raleigh pool.


Tablecloths and fancy china aren’t of much interest to me these days as I prefer to keep it simple, delicious and always with a local flavor.  Erela is a black bean connoisseur and gives a thumb’s up rating system for the best of the beach.


Puerto Sagua got two thumbs up for their black beans and rice and I love the very local crowd and diner feel of the place.  Another winner is Havana 1957.  On the bustling corner of Washington and Lincoln Road, this always busy Cuban eatery has indoor and outdoor relaxed seating and great garlic sautéed shrimp.

If it’s Italian you are craving, head to Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House where you can dine al fresco in a garden on the beach.  If you have that convertible rental and want to venture across the causeway, absolutely try Mandolin in Miami’s oh-so-hot design district.  My eagle eyes spotted this hip outdoor restaurant with delicious Greek eats while driving to another restaurant and we promptly made a U-turn.  Good call.


I’m not interested in doing much more than sitting seaside with several great books lined up on my iPad and the occasional dip in the water.  I could easily park myself on a chaise under an umbrella from dawn till dusk with the occasional early morning beach walk (before it gets too hot).  If it’s a weekend trip to escape a brutal New York winter, then I’m not even renting a car and I’m using Miami Beach’s bike share program (Deco Bike) to get around.


Savor eternal summer with our Stephanie Johnson Miami Collection in Orange, Hot Pink and Lemon Yellow.  A nod to the neon lights of South Beach:   these transparent cases, while basic, are anything but boring!


The SJ Dream Team is a little offbeat – groovy even – and consists of my perfect storm of practitioners and experts.  Try not to judge my woo woo sensibilities, as those who know me also know they have served me well!


When I was 18 my stepfather had an astrologer come to the house to read his chart.  My stepdad seemed to think the only reason he knew as much as he did was the person who referred him must have told him everything.  I, on the other hand, was just plain curious and there began my lifelong relationship with Ken Bresee.  Ken is a gentle soul with a gift for interpreting the stars whose genuine care and love can be heard in every word.   Ken works from his home in Taos, and will record and send a CD to you anywhere in the world.  Contact him by email at

Gahl Sasson is a spiritual teacher who teaches workshops around the globe on Kabbalah, mythology, and astrology.  He is the author of two books, a frequent television and radio guest, and an overall brainiac and hottie.  We met 10 years ago when I took his class ‘A Wish Can Change Your Life,’ which was the basis for his book of the same name, now in its fifth printing.  I see Gahl for private readings and I have a special connection with his Tarot deck.  Subscribe to his very smart newsletter, take a workshop, read his books, or schedule your own reading.  You can find Gahl at and see when he’s coming to your city or country.

My Aries brain (and Gemini Moon) are always on overdrive and I’m constantly in my head.  Meditation should be part of my daily practice, but alas it isn’t always.  Tanda Tashjian is a psychotherapist, astrologer and teacher of meditation in the Buddhist tradition.  She taught me how to calm my mind and just be still.  Check out one of her intensive meditation workshops or join a weekly class in her home in L.A.

Several years ago, I was driving past The Kabbalah Centre and saw they were having an open house.  Being open to everything, I thought I’d check it out and I popped in on veteran Kabbalist and teacher to the stars, Eitan Yardeni (yes, he is Madonna’s teacher), giving a lecture.  I signed up for classes on the spot and have been learning the teachings of Kabbalah ever since.  Not as woo woo as some of you may think, the basic tenant of this ancient wisdom is ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’  Imagine if we could all master that!  Check out Kabbalah classes online or visit a Centre near you.

I’ll be highlighting other members of my Dream Team in upcoming posts on Style Compass.  Stay tuned!


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