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South Florida’s lush vegetation is brought to vibrant life as a tropical palm print in turquoise, lemon, magenta, tangerine and lime fans out across a backdrop of soft white.  Atlantic blue liner and hot pink trim and teardrop tab zipper pulls add personality befitting the colorful art deco architecture along Miami’s Ocean Drive.  Whether it’s a day spent lounging poolside or a night hitting the clubs of South Beach, a Miami getaway requires a wardrobe that’s infused with bright color and is well-suited for hot days (and nights).

Here’s what else made it inside my suitcase for a mid-winter sojourn in Miami:

1.  Melissa Odabash Marigay Embroidered Voile Kaftan

2.  Gucci Aviator Gold/White Sunglasses

3.  Tomas Maier Triangle Bikini

4.  Sophia Webster Alicia Patent and Metallic Leather Sandals

5.  L.Erickson Silk Head Wrap in Floral Orange/Shoal

6.  Jill Sander Ronny Stretch-Cotton Straight-Leg Pants

7.  Mara Hoffman Fitted Mid-Calf Dress



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!


stephanie-johnson-spring-20The holidays are just around the corner but here at Stephanie Johnson we are already into spring full swing.  For two days twice a year, we clear out one of our warehouses in Venice Beach, California, set up a studio, turn off the lights, paper the windows and point and shoot hundreds of bags.  Our spring and summer collections won’t hit stores until January but the photo shoot had me thinking of sun, beaches and Miami heat!

Our 2013 collection is red hot with lots of color, texture and sparkle.  Look for our Miami group in bright neon clears, as well as the introduction of a roll-out bamboo mat that you can tote with you to the beach or park.

My summer travels included lots of time in Napa and it inspired me to bring back an oldy but a goody:  our beige raffia with black patent trim Napa collection.  There is something for everyone this coming spring and we invite you to take a special sneak peek!



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