ENVIRONMENTAL HEALING & HAPPINESS

We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds, and in the process heal our own, indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder .

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Oslo, Norway December 10, 2004, the first African American woman and first environmental activist to win the peace prize.



Even in the trendy world of design, Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach says, To be relevant, any piece of design whether a chair or a building must take into account its impact on the environment. And relevance, not style is the foundation of modernism .

In fashionable South Beach , we got our first ICON designed by the ultimate designer, Philippe Starck . Both the outside and inside of this structure are relevant and stylish. The opening of this new condo building was celebrated with an amazing party hosted by developer, Jorge Perez of Related Group and Starck himself. It was a picture perfect night where we were greeted at the door by dramatic drummers and then shuttled through the Starck-inspired lobby to the outdoor pool deck. As the brochure said, Where you live is who you are so if you want to be a stylish Starckette, then call upon me to put one of these condos in your holiday shopping cart.

As for miracles and motherhood, my NYC healer, Aleta St. James (www.energytransformations.com)

became the oldest mother of twins on November 9, 2004. She gave birth to a baby boy and girl 3 days shy of her 57 th birthday. A lot of people may think I am selfish or crazyWell, I'm a little bit crazy. I've never lived in the box. I just say if you have a dream, if you put your mind to it and don't listen to other people's negativity, you can really do incredible things , declared St. James.

Diva, Diana Ross told students at a music conservatory where a scholarship was named in her honor in November, that it is not divadom, but motherhood that defines her. I'm more a mom than I am a celebrity , she told the audience. As someone who has had her ups and downs throughout her 40 year music career, she has always believed in herself. I actually don't remember ever not believing in myself, said the 60 years young Ross.


Recently, the ultimate brandmeister, Donald Trump was in Miami to pitch his latest products, namely his cologne and suits. But as usual, he was just selling himself and the crowds cried with envy all wanting to emulate him. An 11 year old said he wants to turn out just like The Donald. Our role-model man has also had bad times throughout his career, but is truly the comeback kid . Today, he is the 74th richest man in America according to Forbes with a personal net worth of $2.6 billion. If you want to live in more than a Trump suit, then head to Sunny Isles and buy a Trump condoyou can choose from Trump Palace, Trump Royale, TrumpTower I, II, III or IV.

Latin artist, Ignacio Iturria transplanted himself and his family to Miami this past Fall. For me coming to the United States and especially coming to Miami , is like entering a cartoon. It's another world. Here the opportunity to flower is a reality. In Uruguay , we dream of getting ahead, but the reality is complicated. Here you see flowering on every corner , Iturria says.


In November, another couple spent their honeymoon here. They traded candlelight dinners for burgers and Buds in the pits at the NASCAR Nextel Cup championshipHomestead instead of Hawaii . They were not alone as 70,000 avid auto-racing fans packed the speedway.

peaking of love, the most famous heiress of the 20 th Century (no not the exhibitionist, Paris Hilton), Gloria Vanderbilt has written a book of her romance memoirs titled It Seemed Important at the Time. According to Vanderbilt, It's about love, life and the pursuit of happinessit's about the appetite of romance and how to feed it over a lifetime. She believes happiness comes not just from love, but optimism and shares these thoughts, I've always lived by the philosophy that the phone can ring, and your whole life can change. Something amazing is always right around the corner, so what's out there could be the best for you .


Who says Miami is all sizzle and sex? I found some substance at Shin (www.shinwellness.com). This new wellness center started a weekly seminar titled Awakenings . I attended Happiness: A Neuro-Philosophical View , not your typical small talk. I went from Happiness to Swingers the screening under the stars of the film starring Vince Vaughn and Heather Graham at Margaret Pace Park . That's called a night of balance and on the menuplenty of popcorn since I was in Miami and not on the South Beach diet.

If 5 star dining is your preference then South Florida is not your cup of tea. If 4 stars will do, then head to one of this year's award-winners: Azul in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel ( Miami ), Blue Door in the Delano Hotel ( Miami Beach ), La Palme d'Or in the Biltmore Hotel ( Coral Gables ), Café Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel ( Palm Beach ), Normans ( Coral Gables ) or Wish ( Miami Beach ).

Or if privacy is your thing, then join one of the new members only venues. Casa Casuarina , the former

Versace mansion is now a private club which canalso be rented for private parties. I went there to the Grey Goose vodka sponsored event last month and swear I will never drink vodka againafter tasting every imaginable vodka cocktail before midnight...my head was swimming with wild geese and I turned into a pumpkin. For a more intimate setting, become a member of the Casa Tua lounge, a true oasis on South Beach . If you prefer nudity, then step up to The Standard opening this season where they will have a clothing-optional Mud Lounge.

If you are striking out in South Beach, try Strike Miami , a 37,000 square foot, state of the art venue with 34 glow-in-the-dark bowling lanes and plenty of bars, booze and local babes in the Dolphin Mall in Miami. At the grand opening all my balls went down the gutter.


If you strike it rich, you can shop for one of the most expensive homes in America . According to Forbes, the average price climbed $5 million to $55.25 from $49.05 million last year. The most notable sale in 2004 in the $30+ million range was Hollywood producer, Peter Guber's Aspen ranch which sold for $46 million. A newcomer on the list this year is a $70 million Manhattan penthouse in the Pierre Hotel. If you could do a $14 million down payment and get a 30 year mortgage at 7%, your monthly mortgage payments on this penthouse would be only $372,569.40. What a deal!

Well, if that does not rock your boat, do like Mel Gibson did and shell out only $15 million for a private Pacific island. Mel's Mago Island is 5,400 acres with 2 lagoons and sandy white beaches. He plans to turn it into his own personal retreat with plenty of help from Passion.

Closer to home in sunny South Florida , you can always find a condo to match your budget. From 300 square feet

condo hotel rooms to Apogee's top of the line 3000 square feet luxury unitsjust tell me how thick your wallet is and I will tell you what and where to buy.

And Miami has just undergone an Art Attack! Of course, we all need art to fill our lofty spaces. Art Basel Miami Beach , the sister city event of the world renowned Basel , Switzerland art fair has just finished invading our sexy town. Our Miami Beach Mayor Dermer said it best at the opening press conference, This is the perfect marriage between Swiss efficiency and Miami Beach excitementnot to say that the Swiss are not exciting and we are not efficient, he chuckled.

The heart of the event is the art show that features 190 of the leading art galleries from around the world at the Miami Beach Convention Center as well as numerous crossover events around town in every type of venue imaginable...museums, galleries, hotels, lounges, discos, blocks, neighborhoods, warehouses, theaters, parks, beaches, farms etcSpin-off events were under headings of Art Loves Architecture, Design, Film, MusicGatherings ranged from the ultra chic (Raleigh penthouse private art collectors dinner) to the ultra crass ( Fuck Art, Let's Dance party at the Marlin Hotel) and from wanna bees to busy bees to celebrities from all walks of life.

Objex Artspace captured the diverse spirit of this Art Week with their invitation to their exhibit titled Lurkers Unite which read Dear friends, family, lurkers, bros, hoes and those with bank rolls, you are cordially invited to join us . And writer, Leslie Abravanel of the Miami Herald coined a new name for these events, Arties. And she left us with a good question, Was Art Basel about the art or the art of the Party?


I personally produced and hosted several parties for Art Basel. I started the whole week off with what I called First & Biggest where the 47 story I.M.Pei designed skyscraper ( Bank of America Tower at International Place ) defining the Miami skyline was transformed into a piece of living light art. On the weekend, I was involved with an event where art, architecture and cuisine came together at Boprae Studio.


But of all the art I saw at Art Basel, I think the strangest still is the Virgin Mary Miracle Sandwich which got nibbled on eBay. The quote of the month belongs to Darrell Ragland of Miami who said, I am at a complete loss to believe that in the 21 st century anyone would think that she saw the image of Virgin Mary on, of all things a grilled-cheese sandwich. Anyone can see that it's an image of Shirley Temple on that toast.

As local South Beach scenesters, we are seasoned partiersbut the Art Attack took my pulse away by week's end. All of the Arties, wore me out. Now, I must recharge my EverReady batteries quickly cuz the New Year is here and Art Miami starts this week.

Happy New Year!
Hope

www.ehopeinternational.com
www.sbirealty.com

* Check out my article in the current winter issue of LINCOLN ROAD MAGAZINE, Dado's Designs; Conceptual Architect Designing Outside the Box and WHERE MIAMI December issue's Parting Shots A Tower of Light for Art Basel. Plus, the January issue of CONDO LIVING magazine in the MIAMI HERALD on Brand PowerThe Branding of South Florida Real Estate.

 

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