Miami Life Insider’s Guide: Botanical Garden, Theater, Fashion, Team SOS

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Miami Beach has a three-acre secret. It’s right across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center. If you are in town anytime soon make sure you see “The Cuban Vote” at the Colony Theater on Lincoln Road.  Miami Beach has its very own Lincoln Center and we went to a fashion show that rivals a Paris runway. And you need to know about Team SOS, a dragon boat race team of breast cancer survivors. And if you’re in NYC in May, join me at the Renewal Summit!

A Meditation Point in The Middle Of All The Glitz

Miami Beach has a three-acre secret. It’s right across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center, but I would guess that most folks don’t even know that the Miami Beach Botanical Garden even exists. It’s just three acres but once you are inside you feel that you are walking around a huge tropical garden. It feels like paradise.  We went there last Sunday to see the Evelyn Politzer exhibit that I wrote about last week. John De Faro, a super talented artist and landscaper, joined Eliot and me, on our visit to this enchanting area. John is a good friend and we love when he accompanies us into the art and garden worlds. He shares his knowledge, and it makes these trips so much more enjoyable.

The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a sustainable urban oasis.  It’s great exercise and very calming to meander the pathways and connecting gardens which showcase the horticulture collections. The Garden’s website explains, “The landscape showcases native Florida plants and trees including bromeliadspalmscycadorchids and many others. There is a Japanese garden, native garden and bio-swale, and water gardens including ponds, fountains, and a wetland with mangrove and pond apple trees. There is also an expanded Great Lawn area for corporate and social events, a plant nursery and event plaza, and night-time lights, entrance gate, and pathways.”

Here is a picture essay of our afternoon visit. See Evelyn’s tree hugging exhibit up close and personal.

Photos by Eliot Hess

2000 Convention Center Drive | Miami Beach, FL 33139 | 305.673.PALM (7256


Take A Bite Out of This

If you are in Miami anytime soon make sure you see “The Cuban Vote” at the Colony Theater on Lincoln Road.  It was written by and stars Carmen Pelaez, an award-winning playwright, actor, and filmmaker. All of the promotional material says the play is a comedy about a Miami mayoral campaign of Carolina “Caro” Clarens who is played by Ms. Pelaez.  While the play does cover how the Cuban American community functions in Miami, I do feel the production also has a strong undercurrent about how a handsome, suave, young campaign manager, (Andhy Mendez) treats a heavy set and brash female candidate for Mayor. I would guess that she is not used to all the physical and intellectual fuss he makes about her.

How do I know I am right? Every time Mendez got close to Ms. Pelaez on stage, I could hear the gasps from the females in the audience. They so wanted to see a gorgeous hunk wrap his arms around a rather large woman. When he did, I could hear the woman coo like it was happening to them. And when they kissed, many of ladies started to applaud. There were four girlfriends right behind us. I could hear their every word. While they were very attractive, they were a bit chunky themselves, so I guess they were paying special attention to the pending relationship. It’s not that often that you see a shapely guy romantically embrace an XXXL woman. That alone was worth the price of the ticket.

It was very satisfying to see a seductive, confident man on stage embrace and kiss a plus size woman. I hope we see more of that in the future. That’s what I call reality.

Michel Haussmann, cofounder and artistic director at the Colony Theater, said, “‘The Cuban Vote’” is Pelaez’s third play, . “Fake” was the first, then came her short play, “Strapped,” part of the company’s innovative Drama League Award-winning “Seven Deadly Sins” production from November 2020 through January 2021.

Thank you Carmen Pelaez. We will be buying tickets for all that you create. Get details.

Miami Beach’s Lincoln Center 

Miami Beach has its very own Lincoln Center. It’s nothing like the one in Manhattan, but to many people in the fashion, art, and interior design world it is just as important. Real estate developer Mel Schlesser turned his Lincoln Center building, on Lincoln Road, into studios for all creative talent. He did it during the pandemic because a number of tenants decided to abandon their office space and work remotely. He knew it was time to bring back the creative community to Lincoln Road.

With the help of artist Jayda Knight, also known as The Flying Knight, the Lincoln Center building quickly became fully occupied. It’s so much fun to walk though the hallways and peek into the studios to see projects evolve. That’s why Ms. Knight named the space, “Peekaboo Open Studios.”

The Peekaboo Open Studios will have a schedule of events during the year which will be open to the public. The most recent showcase was a fashion show in the courtyard of the building featuring Krel, Snip Tease and OMG! Model Scout Academy WBM. The event was so fabulous you felt like you were at a Paris fashion show.

Photos by Eliot Hess

All of the models were wearing KREL Tropical Knitwear, a Miami-based sustainable collection founded by fashion designer and textile artist Karelle Levy in 2002. The majority of styles such as rompers and caftans are geared toward warm climates, but Levy also offers sweaters and scarves for greater coverage.

KREL Tropical Knitwear opened a flagship store and atelier in Miami Ironside retail and design center in 2016. The space features Passap Duomatic and Shima Seiki knitting machines as well as a functional wall art installation of colorful yarns. The brand is available at retailers throughout Florida and Latin America.

Krel Tropical Knitwear | Miami Ironside | 7580 Ne 4th Court, #111, Miami | (305) 465-0486

I will let you know about future activities.

Team SOS Miami

I thought Tomatoes would like to know about Team SOS Miami. They are a breast cancer survivor dragon boat race team. The group is all about sisterhood and women’s empowerment.  They practice and paddle right across the bridge at the Marine Stadium basin. They hope you NEVER qualify to join their team. However, if you are a breast cancer survivor please consider paddling with them – no experience is needed. Follow them on FB and IG or send them an email at for more info.  The griot says thanks for your time and remember to get your boobs checked.



  • As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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