Love in Time of Corona

… between Amsterdam, New York and Milford, PA

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Art for the Revolutionary….

Picasso sculpture

99% of the art at Art Basel Miami was for the 1%, the remaining 1% was for the 99%.

You get the math?

Global capitalism at work! Consumerism in overdrive, showcasing the trickle-down effect to a select few formerly starving artists (most now dead) and their Prada clad uber dealers. Selling masterpieces or rather masturbation pieces to the super rich.

But where is this irony reflected? Is a Picasso still a radical challenge to the status quo? Where is the new rage?

This commodification of status art is boring. The endless (and I mean endless) rows of mind-dulling booths with static canvasses, photos, installations, sculptures and hangings is so overwhelming that it’s impossible to recognize the good from the bad from the new from the old.

Picassos, three in one booth, look blah, Calder, Delaunay, Miro, feel like so what? An entire gallery filled with about 200 original Warhols, cute but can we go home now…

To present art, some great art, as interior decorating like an all-you-can-eat art buffet to binging collectors in  the same space that held the car show just a few weeks ago and the boat show next month diminishes its cultural and historical value. Just because the creamiest 1% of the 1% cream have agreed to agree, leaving nothing to chance. Their millions safe within the vaults of  big brand investment art.

intertwined tires made from black marble

Design Miami was nestled like a co-dependent snooty mistress in a tent alongside the massive convention center.

Design Miami used to be in the Design District, where this year the Buckminster Fuller Dome and Dymaxion car where re-created by Sir Norman Foster making an inspired statement for inventive design that reflects past and future. Art Basel Inc. has taken over Design Miami and keeps it close to their all-encompassing police-state-of-the-art campus, with Schwarzenegger-esque guards who look like they will pepper-spray anyone that does not meet the  humorless Swiss code of conduct.

photo: Alastair Gordon

Design Miami houses designers. Or rather galleries who sell the work of furniture, jewelry, lighting, life-style designers. No art allowed in this building. Just design. One booth had two blank walls with nails where their fifties wall weavings would have hung had it not been for the style police deeming them to be art and  forbidding the gallery to sell them.

So, you may wonder, what happened to art that says fuck you to all this monitoring, keeping track and bourgeois judging of what should live and what should not?

Where is the To Create Art is To Burn Alive spirit behind this snob spectacle?

Where is the devil-may-care, I have the urge to get lost, give me a piece of wood, a canvas, a block of clay and I’ll see you next year, spirit of the artist?

Sanitized! Lobotomized! Exorcized!

Even the satellite shows with younger and edgier work were eager to register on the luxury radar, and attract those god-like collectors who  spread the magic gold that makes or breaks careers.

Baseled Barbi












Still there was the upside that  the remaining 1% of art was for the remaining 99%

This 1% was getting dirty in Wynwood where another set of walls had been given up to artists who painted manically, obsessively grinding and wielding their cans, sprays and ladders.

picture by John Wendelbo

Above  a collaboration:  john wendelbo / Mare139, 

The 99% was there, in the street, raw energy alive with loud music, swanning the galleries, eating from food trucks, dancing, taking pictures, making movies, kissing, noisy, funny, sexy, young…

And the art was there on the walls, being created in the moment for everyone to see – a democracy of participation.

No luxury price tags.

Unavailable for ownership.

Art that hopefully foreshadows an awakening to a time where status is lost, luxury deemed boring and boundless creativity – like anything – is possible…again.

what is real


Ten things you can do in Miami that you can’t get away with anywhere else in the US of A



I didn’t do my 22 laps today. I did homework. I prepped beach plastic. I made dinner. I edited. I had a Martini (or two) …

Then suddenly I had a window, so I went down to the pool.

I did my 22 laps. Or was it 32?

Let me tell you; after those martini’s it was soo easy. It was actually fun! And pretty! Prettier than I’d ever noticed before. The palm trees lit from below swaying in the wind, the lights from the apartment buildings across Indian Creek, the slice-of-a-moon rising, the last contours of a pink sunset…

I swam like a fucking dolphin!  I would have leapt if I  could have!

I wondered if I’d burned the same amount of calories as when doing the same, only sober.

So politically incorrect though. No?

I mean I’m from the north. And from Holland. Swimming laps while intoxicated? Bad mother! Bad, bad mother! Bad temporary single parent!



This is Miami.

So while exercising intoxicated I thought of all the things you can do in Miami that you can’t do anywhere else in the U S of America….


1. Sex rules without boundaries #1 – Cross a busy intersection wearing nothing but a red sparkling Brazilian bikini (thong that is), on Friday evening Sabbath in the center of the Jewish quarter, 41st and Pinetree Drive… You go girl! (It wasn’t me, I wouldn’t dare).

2. Safety? Up yours! – Do a U-turn, in a SUV, in the center of a three-way-zebra crossing during  blinking-light school hours with uniformed kids pulling their Zuccas on every black and white stripe  (I don’t do this, it drives me nuts).

3. Fun beats responsibility – Send your kid on a two-day field trip with a chaperone, never call her (kid nor chaperone), and then NOT collect kid for another two days (courtesy of my friend F B ).

4. My body is my business – Sunbath topless on the regular (not nudist) beach. I do this when its REALLY quiet (my Mom and I tried it on Shelter Island and almost got arrested….)

5. Get out of my way, bitch – Cut into any and every line, whenever you can, proudly, as if it’s a Mark Jacobs Spring 2011 fashion statement.

6. Spontaneous manners –  RSVP to an intimate  (early-ish) dinner party, not show up, then call at ten, ask if you can bring a friend, eat left-overs and have a fabulous time till the wee hours…

7. Honestly I’m an honest person – Text a hostess to thank for a great dinner party, and write that it was fun only until the moment when she (the hostess/me) made that one stupid comment about…

8. Sex rules without boundaries #2 – Sit by the pool and hear the explicit details of a druggy orgy, as told by three extremely pretty Russian girls, while there are at least a dozen children under the age of seven swimming amongst them…

9. Scary shit is fun any time of the year – Have “Night of the Zombies” on Lincoln Road four weeks before Halloween, where adult men walk around in blood stained T-shirts, drunk, yielding real and churning chainsaws…

10. Sex rules without boundaries # 3 – Have a bus stop sign that says: Still a Virgin? Need Help? call 1-800- etc. on one end and a sign that says “Raped? Need Help? call 1-800- etc.” on the other…

(11 and 12 are added since this post was first written:

11: Have the office of a male and female, boys and girls, modeling agency inside a church building. Yes the Green agency is conveniently located (for recruiting purposes) on Lincoln Road inside the community church building, instantly absolved and blessed with divine credibility. And oh those lucky priests, inside the kids candy store….

12: On Sunday, when the sale of liquor is forbidden in many states including PA, we were give free and rather generous wine samples at the Publix supermarket check-out line at 11am, Halloween day. The man behind me passed “because I have to go to work” and the sexy wine seductress tried her best to persuade him that a bit of wine would do no harm…. )

I’m sure I can think of ten (yes I did) more but I have to get out of this wet bathing suit and call husband back…


Fashion’s Night Out Miami

photo by Iona Gordon

I finally  dressed up and went out, Miami style.

After being absorbed by getting the kids back into school mode like meeting teachers, signing into after-school programs, seemingly endless driving to and from new friends and  special classes, dealing with Iona’s bi-polar morning-bus driver who is on a pick-up schedule that stretches somewhere between 6.30am and 8am (yes some kids wait 90 minutes at their bus stop),  it has taken me three weeks to get back into being Barbi who does Miami.

If it wasn’t for Fashion’s Night Out, the one-night celebration started by Anna Wintour to make shopping super glamorous and revive the fashion economy, I would still be the anti-social Mommy taxi service.

But, for once thanks to Ms. Wintour, I glammed up and went to Bal Harbour Shops, here in Miami Beach. Husband is back up north, so I took Iona. Iona cleaned up very nicely, adding about three years to her 14 years, and was a hotter date than husband…(sorry Al)

Iona with Celine Model

Fashion’s Night Out in New York could leave one, no, would leave me, completely paranoid, as in the desperate feeling that the best party was most definatley NOT the one I was attending, but had to be one of the other three hundred that were being tweeted at me from far flung corners of the city, like the Vogue show at Lincoln Center or Barneys, Isaac Mizrahi or Ralph Lauren uptown or Alexander Wang in Soho, Scoop in Nolita, Balenciaga in Chelsea… and I would have ended up of the verge of a fashion-stress induced break down. I mean just looking at the schedule of FNO New York events left me aching with I-should-been-there-ness.

Bal Harbour Shops, on the contrary, is a contained tropical retail village and everyone  who is anyone in designer retail is there. From Marc Jacobs, Prada, Pucci and YSL to Gucci, Saks and Neiman’s. They all have gorgeous stores in what must be one of the most pleasant shopping experiences anywhere and Miami fashionistas of all ages partied under the giant Royal Palms by the ponds and waterfalls, walking in and out of stores that offered  free champagne, DJ’s, celebrity chefs, photo-ops and fashion shows. Only Chloe seemed to miss the point and had a hyper PR guy with a clip board culling guests at the door. If you weren’t on the list you weren’t exactly welcome, but no-one cared, and by 9pm the fashion’s-night-out penny had dropped, the doors were flung open and the pr guy was last seen posing for the paparazzi…

so they shopped…

and they drank  champagne…

They danced…

They posed.

They played bocce ball…

It was not New York.

It was so not New York. It was Miami. Glamorous, tanned and toned, wealthy and bling and sexy and showy and nipped and tucked and implanted and perfectly groomed and South American and Russian and Israeli and Middle Eastern. And, in contrast to New York, where everyone is wondering who can afford all the exquisite designer clothes shown on the runways, it appears that almost everyone here can buy just about anything that the designer stores in Bal Harbour have to offer.

My five favorite moments:

1. Stanley Whitman, the 92-year old founder of Bal Harbour Shops, watching the crowd and the bocce court and enjoying his unique retail creation…

2. The attention that was showered on Iona,  whomever wrote Snow White  had no idea how lovely it is to be the proud mother of a budding beauty.

3. The vast mix of (under yet overdressed) ages and nationalities, all happily partying together under the warm night sky.

4. Wearing high heels again.

5. Marc Jacob’s exquisite fall collection, which made me remember and re-appreciate great design, fabric and craftsmanship…


Barbi’s least pleasant Miami moments

big house

OK, So.
Even when one escapes to the beach. To the sun. To the palm tree lined avenues with houses so enormous, so fancy, and so beyond this lifetime’s means, shit happens.

Shit happens.

Shit happens no matter where you are. Even when you are living your dream, shit happens. Like  that dream where you ‘re having sex with the perfect hunk and you just cant find IT.. I’m digressing, but (ever had that dream?)  even in your best dreams shit happens. Thats my point.

So in our “live our dream” year in Miami, shit happened. Like as soon as we arrived Kiki and Leila were diagnosed with TB. One test-scratch, and whoops is that a positive? Then their teacher said, to their face, “I don’t want them in my class”, that was #1 of serious shit happening to my twins days within our arrival. So. A beach and the sun and 78 degrees in February and a few palm trees, well, they don’t make that much difference to the shit that goes down.

I also find that, when you put yourself out there its like asking for shit to come flying in your face.

Like I wrote a book.

Stupid, silly, sensitive me. Only tough fuckers should write books. Like Steven Segal, or Judith Regan, or Cheney, they can write books and not give a fuck about rejection letters. But me? Barbi? The one who was an ice cream vendor at her sixth birthday party and cried because she never actually got a cone herself. That Barbi should’ve never put a novel out there. If it wasn’t for the beach, and her lovely daughters, her friends, her comments on her blog (!), her stabilizing Dutch background, well if it wasn’t for all that, those letters would have brought her down. And they weren’t all that bad. Most of them liked the story, the edge in her voice, they just didn’t know how the fuck to market her in today’s climate. Like she wasn’t Sarah Palin or one of Tiger’s/Jesse’s mistresses.Her story wasn’t “feel good, warm and fuzzy” the sales trend in todays depressed economy.


Well then, never mind.

Those rejection letters,  they are #2 on my list of least pleasant moments, these last nine months. Not Miami’s fault. In fact life here, the parties, the friends, the sun, the happy husband, probably made the whole process less upsetting… but there you go. Advice: dont write a book. Don’t ever write a book. Promise me, write a blog instead and fuckem.

Now I sit back and ask myself. What else was least pleasant?

Well, I didn’t tell you. But I spent 36 hours inside Mount Sinai hospital. That was not pleasant. It was self induced mixed with some stress. Remember that blog where I thought I was going a little crazy? When I wondered what the fuck we were doing here? I had palpitations so I took my blood pressure at CVS, Through the roof! So high, like I was almost dead, the machine said. I Googled high blood pressure and bought every natural drug recommended. Magnesium and beta blockers. Ginger tea, made from real ginger.  Two, three, four days went by and each night was worse, palpitations, light headed, and even a panic attack. I almost passed out. I took the kids to school and drove myself straight into the emergency room.

Well, as soon as one utters the word “heart” in the ER they keep you. They take you and hook you up, and do every test known to doctor-kind. BTW Mount Sinai is a teaching hospital so along with each doctor come five interns who gape like they’ve never seen an attractive woman under 70 (60, 50) in a hospital bed before…

Make a long dumb story short: I did not have high blood pressure. CVS machine was wrong. I had  l o w  blood pressure, and my self-medicating had put my poor  heart into a catatonic state, like fifty confused beats per minute and no pressure.

That was #3 on my least pleasant Miami moments.

#4. Lemme think. Its true that one remembers the good stuff and forgets the bad. Hm. Art Basel? When, in the craze of having to be everywhere at once, I helped write some of  husband’s blogs? And his editor gave me a credit and then the legal guys took it off ? That sucked. That made me mad. That caused a fight.

#5. When it was cold, this one is for Maria, and the iguanas died, dropping narcoleptically like pre-historic rubber toys from the trees, belly up. That Miami cold spell was not pleasant. And I wore the same woolly cardigan for three weeks.

belly up iguana

#6. When my Mom left. My Mom is 82 and fabulous. And fit and she will live to be a 100. But whenever she leaves I ask myself: is this the last time? And that really sucks.

#7. As referenced in best Miami moments. I got my little studio. I got it twice! The first time I got it, I had not signed a lease, in our pre-commitment days, but I  did pack the car with all my stuff. My drill, my beach-plastic in its color coordinated bags, my fabric, my fold-up table, my stool, my tool chest and then I got an e-mail saying,” sorry, someone was willing to sign a lease”. In todays climate, of course, “take the lease, good for you, make some money, I understand”.  I unpacked my stuff back into my Aqua garage. Three months later I got a similar studio, a better one, prettier, I moved in, I had a desk, but still needed my stuff… I packed it up, well … once again I was bounced about. I waited to be let in for hours, I waited for my key, I was stood up, I was told to come back again and again. And I said fuckit! This makes me feel like shit… so I walked away, gave them the finger in one of those moments when I thought that maybe the pretty little studio was just not meant to be…. for me…

#8 Well, an rich blue-rinse lady stole my parking spot at the Aventura Mall! It was Iona’s worst moment. She was a witness to what ensued. This lady, like really blatantly stole it (I’d been sitting waiting politely) just because she could (better insurance?). But that was not the worst of it. The unpleasant moment came when I almost beat her up. When I realized that I could, if pushed just a tiny bit further, have kicked her Bentley, smashed her window, pulled her wig off her bitchy old head – just like my mom who once kicked a dent in a car in a similar situation. I dont like to run into myself, my worst self, in that way.

#9. When it became hot here, like never less than 85, and the pool heated up, and after swimming 20 laps every day all year, I realized that I’d become allergic to the chlorine, or something else in the pool, and I got  a rash al over my chest, my face, my arms, which lasted for two itchy weeks. Now I have to go to the gym, and I HATE the gym.

#10. Saying goodbye to Alastair and Kiki and Leila, and realizing that our experiment was over, and worrying about them driving so far, and worrying about our house and our renters and knowing that next year, when we come back, its no longer what it was. No longer a fuck you to what’s expected, but that in the second year we will settle and Miami will become our life, our normal life, and we’ll have to look for different, new ways to escape…

living the dream


Miami Beach Round Up, ten best …

Remember? getting ready to leave Milford September 2009...

Nine months since I packed the car in Milford and headed south with three kids, six bags, and loads of movies. Nine months since we did what we wanted, in a fuck the consequences kinda way, like – get outta town – hop on the bus gus – life is a beach – fuckem if they cant take a joke – the experience will do us good – life is too short  – broaden the horizon – migrate like a nomad – follow the sun and live your dream…

So what was it like? Living the dream on the beach? It was just like life. But sunnier.  It so wasn’t Milford. It was so Miami Beach. But it was life nevertheless. Husband and I still had fights. So did the twins. We still had homework and laundry and rashes and crushes. I still got rejection letters and I still cared when they came. Only it was 78 degrees in February. Only some days we said lets have lunch on the beach, and I made sandwiches and we hopped on our bikes and ten minutes later lay in the sand, stood in the surf, without guilt, on a Tuesday afternoon.

When I look back there were some memorable moments, quite a few actually, like I have a top ten of my high and low moments of nine months at the beach:

Best Parties:

1. October>The Halloween cross dressing party for grown ups, after candy rounds with the kids, going back home and dressing up with husband, have a scotch in the bathroom while he tried to get into a bra and pantyhose, making myself up like a man, and leaving the house around 11 instead of coming home at 11. Coming home at 3 am. Drunk and stoned. Not done that in a while great start to our Miami Beach party season…

2. Which concluded with a party on Biscayne Point a few weeks ago when husband wore his pajama striped pale linen pants and I wore new white silk pants, and  our host dropped his glass of red wine at our feet, splashing it mostly over husband ‘s pants and within ten minutes of our arrival I’m sitting with my feet in the pool, for once wishing for high chlorine levels to help remove the wine stains, and look through the gauze curtains to my left only to see husband in his white y-fronts standing by an elaborate four poster bed while host holds up pant after pant, as if they’re at Prada together. Me thinks, well, thats the fastest A has ever gotten out of his pants at a party and how gay is that host? Not at all it turned out, he had buxom brunette twins in matching shorts and fishnet stockings launching around, bored and clearly waiting for the party to be over. One well-groomed older lady referred to them as “the hired help”. Still, it turned into one of the best parties when Tray Lockerbie, a young singer from Nashville stepped out with his guitar, sang a few songs and inspired three more musicians to come out, including husband. They jammed, we sang. We danced. Got home late, husband in different pants from the ones he left home in – a sign of a good time had…

Miami icons: Sam, Esther, Iran

3. Our  dinner parties at our Aqua Candyland Bachelor Pad like the one  in honor of Eyjafjallajökull and Zaha Hadid who could not make it home to London because of the ash… four fabulous Miami Matriarchs: Sam, Iran, Kathy and Esther, dishing and gossiping and one-upping with stories of their wildest Miami moments…

Zaha and Barbi in the Tiesto candy-land elevator

4. The twins birthday party by the pool, voted best party by them, in 90 degree weather, ten ten-year old girls and two boys (pretending they were at their own separate party) going wild. Iona came to the rescue, miraculously, like a pied piper, rounded them up and bossed them around into orderly games that included hula hoops, diving for prizes and water guns. All a sweaty, hamburger-scented blur to me.

twin birthday

5.  Top best moment beyond, over and above parties: Finding out that Iona got into DASH. A top-ten-ever-proud-mother-moment.

6. The “gifted” test of the twins. A controversial public school moment, where I bought into the system that separates the so-called gifted kids from the rest, and puts them in classes that are superior in method and level of teacher. Hm. Ok, some another time shall I rant about this. Anyway. To get there from here, my girls needed to get an IQ test of sorts. Now. You have to know that over the years opinions by various teachers on their intelligence and the ability to apply themselves have varied. I never wavered, but was often worn down by  negative reports that included notes like “unable to concentrate”, “reading impaired”,  “incomplete homework”.  So this test was a test. A test about who was right. Was my conviction just motherly love? Like Kiki said, “of course you think we’re smart, you’re our Mom!” She thought the teachers were the only authority, and when “gifted” teacher, Mr Spagnola, told their class that they were “the worst class in the school” the last nail had been nailed into their “see Mom, we’re stupid” coffin.


my smart twins

They tested brilliantly. Smart, ahead of their age, eloquent, sensitive and insightful. A weight of self-doubt fell off my shoulders, the veil of insecurity was lifted from their aura. Just one silly test was all it took. I know its all relative, the Wizard of Oz is right about certificates, but, but, it was a good Miami moment.

7. The day I moved into my small sunny studio at Ofer Mizrahi’s utopian village alongside the tracks on 4th North Court. I’d had my eye on the small,  like 250 sq.ft, studio for months –  a palm-tree just outside the french doors, surrounded by young painters, designers environmentalists and architects. A place of my own to escape to… for more look under # 7 in my Worst Miami Moments…

8. My Mom’s visit. Showing her all my favorite things and seeing her health improve in the sun, surrounded by  granddaughters and love.


9. Getting my scarves into Base at the Delano Hotel, making clothes again, finding local women who can sew and bead and enjoy making my stuff while getting paid, and realizing that I can start my business here and help clean the beaches from plastic pollution and maybe make a difference in the environmental consciousness of Miami. All of which is recorded here:

blue beach plastic silk scarf

10. Marriage. We have been together 20 years this Labor Day. Twenty years is longer than I lived in Amsterdam by two years. Its ten years longer than my life in London. In twenty years everything happens. E V E R Y T H I N G. Jobs come and go. Money comes and goes. Parents die, kids are born. Friends die, friends are born. Dreams die, dreams are born. Together we lived in Tribeca and on 9th Street, we lived in an old terracotta factory on the Raritan Canal just outside Princeton which flooded during hurricane Floyd and a week later I was pregnant with twins. We moved to Milford, we built our dream house, we moved to Miami.

Alastair Gordon at Tiesto @ the Fontainebleau

Love. I learned that love changes. That love isn’t static but more like a pink lava lamp. Sometimes we are completely one, sometimes we are at odds, but we always come back together with more love, more intensity and more understanding.

Miami was his idea. We needed it, he said. We needed sun as in light, and parties.  He challenged us and some days this made me mad. Some days I did not want to be Barbi in Miami, I wanted to just be Barbara again. But now, a year later, he has left for Milford and I miss him. And I love him more for making us do this, and for taking me into our marriage deeper than ever before…

Alastair, Kiki and Leila leaving Miami Beach, back to Milford....

Iona and I are here for two more weeks, while she does her DASH summer camp and I enter ten more memorable Miami moments, coming soon….

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My Miami Christmas Guide, places to eat, play, love…

dreaming of a blue Christmas?

OK. So. I know that some of you might be coming down this Christmas vacation. To escape the snow/20 degree weather. See Mom and Pop. See Grandma. See those silly friends who moved down telling you that Miami is  like the next cool city. Or if you’re just dreaming of a blue Christmas.

After my first three intense months here I dare to share :


My, by far, favorite restaurant, and OK so I’m biased because the owners are Dutch, and Ineke and I used to model together in Amsterdam in the seventies, is IndoMania, the only really good Indonesian restaurant outside Amsterdam (I never went to Indonesia), where they serve a full Rice Table, or  great Indonesian inspired dishes that compete with any high class fusion restaurant.
Next fave, for lunch or a very early dinner (close at 7pm) and for those of you who like hole-in-the-wall style Japanese sushi, is at the Japanese Market @ North Bay Village. The deck at the Standard Hotel has great views of Biscayne Bay and also of superstar guests like Naomi, Nars, Weber and Calvin.  More celebs and a great spot for brunch is, of course, under the trees at the Raleigh Hotel, if you’re cool enough to be given a table… Sardinia on Purdy Street is a fancy  Sardinian restaurant where the food is excellent, the  waiters real Italians and real cute,  and I felt like I was back being spoiled on the Costa Smeralda. The Buena Vista Bistro is in the design district, the mainland, just over the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Cafe´ style home cooking like  great grouper/mashed potatoes. Other restaurants in the design district are Michael’s with draft beer and macho fayre (bacon, burnt sprouts and lots of meat) and FratelliLyon. The Red Light, (305) 757-7773, has a fabulous owner chef, a cool quirky crowd and is hidden away in the fifties style Motel Blu , with only a handwritten sign that says Red Light . Upstairs interior is  funky Caribbean diner  and downstairs there’s a narrow terrace on Little River where manatees have been known to lounge around.  Lincoln Road is fun, but most restaurants  suck in a get them in and out fast kinda way, so we have our own three destinations: Books and Books for great salads, superb fish sandwich, magazines from all over the world, and cool well-read waiters. At Sostas the pizza is good and affordable, its where we take the kids. After seeing a movie at the Lincoln Theater next door I like  the Venezuelan Baire where I have the poached pear and gorgonzola salad and hope that the super sexy group at the next table (straight from a Almodovar cast) invites me to join them.


Like shop?
For loitering outside, people watching and groovy stores like Diesel and Miss Sixty (dotted between the same old same old Gap, Victoria Secret and Pottery Barn) there is of course Lincoln Road, which becomes more interesting every other Sunday when a street fair/fleamarket is part of the streetscape.
While being So Be-ward, even if you cant afford or fit into ultra expensive, gorgeous, top of the line, best pick designer clothes, you have to visit the Webster, a newly opened lifestyle of the rich and famous store run by  former YSL execs, Milan, Laure and Frederic, all chic as poodles, and incidently there’s  a Kaspia, the Paris caviar joint ,in the lobby. But in general modern shopping is best in the design district, a small neighborhood of about four blocks square with  furniture/lifestyle, Luminaire, Avanti, Kartell  and fashion/accesories stores like Marni, Fendi, Quinn, Tomas Maier and the recently opened Moore building with several young designers boutiques.  A few blocks down is the Wynwood area with lots of little galleries and cool shops like Las Tias , a consignment furniture store (and more) choc full of Lapidus and Miami Vice-style cast offs and owned by my  fabulous Miami friend Esther Percal. A must!

More PLAY:

Like beaches and pools? We like to walk to the public beach entry on 62nd street where the water is turquoise, the beach is wide and very quiet. But for the complete Miami Beach experience rent a bike and take the boardwalk all the up or way down and pick a spot. Like  South Pointe Park which was recently opened and extends along  the port waterway where  cruise ships like giant UFO’s glide by you on your tiny towel. For a grand feet-out-of-the-sand  experience the beach at the Raleigh is wide and buff boys settle you into their comfy sun chairs for a substantial fee. The Raleigh pool is  fabulous dahling,  models, male and female, are encouraged to hang by the pool (in their spare time) for sex appeal but it made me want to diet, do the gym, botox, tummy tuck, and spray-on tan before ever coming back . The Fontainebleau has a “poolscape” meaning three, or is it four, pools with connecting terraces that are dotted with sun chairs and VIP cabanas which include flat screen TV’s and girls who rub sunscreen into the oily backs of sunburned  Soprano types. Its kitsch but if you’re doing Miami you gotta do the Fontainebleau, even if its only for an hour. My favorite pool ever, anywhere, is the lake sized pool at the Biltmore Hotel in the Gables, nowhere near the beach, but go for a drink at the poolside bar, bring a costume, and float around (preferably at night when the hotel is lit up and feels like the Alhambra.)

Other PLAY:

Like renting a boat? Any size is available depending on your budget, from Indian Creek along Collins Avenue. Nightclubs must still be play for some, and the Wall at the W is one hot-spot, although it made me feel like my own granny. Debbie’s after hours club, called Private Residence @ 1427 West Ave is my Saturday night spot, its small and exclusive and reminds me of the old London clubs like Tramp and Annabel’s. Exploring funky neighborhoods is what I like to do best. Miami is a cosmopolitan experience and if you want to feel like you’ve left the USA go hang out in the South American strip by the beach between 63rd and 75th street. My favorite is the Buenos Aires Bakery where they sell pre-made mini sandwiches which I take to the beach. Or walk around little Havana for quirky shops, great Jazz and cigars if you’re so inclined. Along the railroad tracks on 4th North Court/79th street I found, behind a wall of highly designed  shades of grey concrete panels,  a commune of  cool young fashion designers, artists, hairdressers, architects and Green developers. Its where I want to have my studio. If we stay next year that is…


Love yourself at Canyon Ranch. Love your husband (like me) at the W Hotel. Love your lover at the Setai . Love your kids at the Biltmore.

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five things i like about miami

for a while i wasn’t so connected to my inner glamour puss, like it was time for earth mother to take over, but miami brings out my cyd charisse, party girl ( party girl where do you play tonight? party girl party girl where to be gay tonight? girl.. )

1. for pre-disco slow lead up to friday night partying, we had the ultra civilized reopening of simpson park where miami architect chad oppenheim designed a gorgeous new archway entrance made from slatted wood and native flora like orchids that will eventually take over and create a magical overgrown effect like the drawbridge to sleeping beauty’s palace. The arch leads into the 5.5 acre park of native hardwood hammock first conceived in 1913 between 15th and s. miami avenue downtown miami. landscape designer enzo enea and chad donated their time and collaborated on the revamping of the park. alastair and i took  our rum cocktails and got lost along an endless white shell trail that snakes through the patch of forest past benches, a pond and plaques that twitter with environmental information about birds and bushes.  audi, of the cars, in a green gesture sponsored this time warp, as a gift to the ultra futuristic downtown community.

simpson park

simpson park

new entrance

new entrance



2. on we went the mondrian hotel, designed by other dutch man marcel wanders, for a mojito. alastair likes the big hotels. he likes the over designed pools, the pretension and grand promises. the mondrian overlooks biscayne bay and the sunset, a barely caught bright red rim on the horizon, before the industrial harbor lights took over and did an equally magical job, while i sat below giant blowing curtains, on a giant rug, in fake  louis seize oversized fauteuils and scatter pillows the size of emperor mattresses. we sipped more minty rum and wondered how long we’d stay here, eight more months? if the glamour will wear off or if we’re hooked . through the magical simpson park gateway,  for like another hundred years?

moon behind giant outdoor mondrian curtains

3. onto a birthday party at barbara becker’s house, WOW, she’s a force of feminine nature! in the perfect what would I do if i won a hundred million (serving fast, hitting hard and within the lines) house with a to-die-for art collection, a gatsby-esque  lawn sloping towards the bay with even better views of the docks, cruise ships and container cranes, scattered with poolside wicker terrycloth-lined king-sized nests, an aquamarine jewel pool centerpiece, and gorgeous thirty plussers grooving to Donna Summer, the Bee gees and Michael Jackson. i felt lucky. sam, whose birthday it was, and another force of nature, gave a rousing speech and i realized that Miami women rock. i may no longer be in the top ten of hostesses of the mostess, but I’m so fuckin’ inspired. miami goddesses rule.
birthday girl sam

birthday girl sam



4. another goddess, ilona,  married to chad of the magical arch, gave a where-the-wild-things-are first birthday for H, her firstborn son, who had not yet seen the film and who probably won’t remember that birthday of all birthday (does anyone?), his first, the one that sets the bar for years to come,  beyond the photos and the videos. but i will remember this one. and so will my twins. they were in fact the perfect age and they’d seen the movie. they were down. and obliged as exemplary birthday guests showing H how to limbo, smash the wild-thing pinata, greedily grab as many pinata innards as they could carry, stuck the tail on the wild-thing and ate the wild-thing sized chocolate chip cookies (20″ diameter), while more good looking adults hung around the wild-thing sized food table stacked with wild-thing sized hamburgers the size of  footballs, wild-thing sized mushrooms the size of baseball caps, chocolate bars the size of bricks, cupcakes the size of beach buckets, empanadas the size of Michael Jordan’s sneakers and malted milkshakes in every flavor in vases rather than glasses. the sendak wild-things were invited and would’ve loved this bash, but I guess their agents  had them busy signing licensing deal, elsewhere…

kiki and leila and wild thing pinata

kiki and leila and wild thing pinata

wild thing sized cupcake and burger and kiki and me

wild thing sized cupcake and burger and kiki and me

5. sunday afternoon. we were meant for another party. at the bass museum. for kids. i was primed, but hard as i tried, my mini-mees  were poopers and would not be moved from  poolside. defending their rights with lines like: just because you like to party doesn’t mean we always have to, we only get two days off and school is very hard, we are tired, very tired, its the first time since we’ve lived here that we ask something from you, you wanted us to come to miami so here we are, we can all relax, we are finally having some fun.. leaving me to wonder where they get the maps to these guilt trips. ok already, i said. . we’ll have our own party. yeah the gordon pool party only for gordon party girls they said.

and daddy. yes daddy can come too…



kiki and leila by iona

kiki and leila by iona

iona's most elegant leap

iona's most elegant leap

gordon party lunch

gordon party lunch

next week: north beach elementary halloween party in the cafeteria, from 2-4 on Wednesday where I shall be a chaperone to 200 out of control fourth and fifth graders, cant wait. the bass museum party on thursday night followed by a restaurant street fair crawl around little havana on friday and  the drag halloween event on saturday, after trickatreating with the girls dressed as bumblebee, corpse bride and twister board.

suggestions on what Alastair should wear and where to buy such in miami in right size are most welcome…

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miami vice meets baywatch

update of this week’s don johnson moments:

1. saturday disco at W hotel – well that was one sure way to feel really old , in holland we say – I felt like Miep from Meppel, which roughly translates into feeling like  one’s granny. i like discos. at least i remember liking them, and i think I could like them again.( maybe there’s a market for age appropriate discos for us studio 54 generation, that open early, allow good old fashioned coke and overt displays of  everything while dancing wildly with oneself) problem at W- the wall-disco is that they card  people for being too old, like over 30, and I’m sure it was only my husband’s WSJ card that got us past the five humongous bouncers. once inside I wished we had been bounced all the way back to milford. at least in milford, when I watch people ride the bull at the tom quick inn, I have a sense of snide control over the local culture. not at the W wall. ah-ah. no way honey.  i mean what’s with those pole dancers? (without poles but still), girls with spray tans in like negligable panties, something even more miniscule over implanted boobs, and wearing boots that are made for walking (all over me) . cry to gloria steinum et all:  gloria what the fuck? is this women’s self empowerment? there were  four of them. one in the east, one in the west, one in the north, one in the south where I was sitting, gyrating her naked bottom in my face. drooling playboys stood and watched staring right  into her crotch. their young dates/girlfriends stood clutching their ugly handbags (what has happened to handbag design? – thats another blog) looking bored, neglected and too intimidated to dance themselves.

2. sunday visit to vizcaya:





3. miami baywatch beach.

please dont think husband and i go to the beach every day. we’re much too northern guilty calvinist for that. but we  had a picnic yesterday. after a morning’s work (trust me). i call anouk when a baywatch type (male) runs past clutching his pathetically small orange floatie (how can he possibly save people on that?), looking intently at a totally flat ocean. I say, hang on a minute anouk. i look. i too could be a lifeguard. the way i looked so well. i scanned and scanned and saw nothing. no drowning babes. no screaming girls. no sudden heart attacks at eight feet deep, no shark fins lurking for attack. it was quiet and peaceful. sorry i said to anouk. nothing going on. next thing i’m almost run off my towel by a speeding atv. whathefuck? i say to anouk. i just almost got run over. next  a spray of sand hits me in the mouth. what the… another atv. manned by a  buff brown girl, looking intently at the ocean. i’m still looking too. anouk is talking. i feel like a bad friend. first i move here and then i’m all  distracted. so i pretend to concentrate on anouk. but i’m not really (sorry anouk). a policeboat speeds into the area. next three jetskis join. then i hear the fire engines coming down collins road, screeching into the parking lot. by now a hundred people are standing in the water, husband one of them. peering. we’re all peering like crazy, hoping to be the first to spot IT. but what is IT? what are we looking for? if its a drowning person he/she’d be drowned by now. if it’s a shark attack one of those people standing in the water would know by now. it has to be a body. a dead body. i think it must be a body i say to anouk who is in her 25th street NYC apartment. i have to go i say . i’ll call back later. i feel so left out, standing in the sand.  trying to relate on the phone to anouk who could so not relate. fine she says. be like that, she thinks. liberated from the phone i too wade into the water. whats going on? i say to husband. he ALWAYS knows what’s going on.( how does he do it?). some woman in the akoya (a rather tall building on the beach) saw a body floating right here, while she was on her treadmill, (he points at nearby buoy), so two policemen went up to doublecheck and they saw something too. cool i say (i know, how very rubbernecky of me). so we watch while the homeland security hormone (or is it a gene?) kicks in and  see it perform all along  up and down the beach. atv’s everywhere almost running over small children and dogs (never mind its an emergency), boats and jetskis spraying macho fountains between two ocean markers, sexy guys with their (pathetic little orange) floaties lurching into the non existent surf. what time is it? i ask. its 2.40. ohshit. the twins. pick-up at 3 under the tree in the school yard. oh shit, and i’m all wet. and ohshit i wanna know. husband says there is no body. if there was a body he would’ve seen it. really? she’s delusional, he says. like schizo.  he points at a pretty young woman in back leggings and tank. i can tell, he says. just look at her. she’s like glenn close. really?i say.  i look at her, all pretty and blond and glenn closey. then i look at the 50, 60 men running around like crazy. hmm. there is POWER in that one phonecall she made. see them run. 911- i see a BODY- floating outside my window, and see how they come running. its now 2.50. i should be at the school in 5 minutes. i have to leave i say. i’m staying husband says, even though he KNOWS its a false alarm. i go. of course i go. i’m three minutes late. the twins are pissed. but wait till  you hear what happened, i say. lets go back to the beach to pick up daddy. will we see that body? they ask. when we get back all the police cars have gone. the beach is quiet. no atv’s or jetskis or orange floaties. its like i made it up. where is the body ?the girls say. both excited and concerned. there never was one. daddy says. we don’t know what she saw but it wasn’t a body. maybe it was a dolphin that was hurt, leila says. yes and maybe he swam away when he saw all those boats, kiki says. i think thats exactly what happened i say.

i hope that dolphin is ok, leila says.