CREATE & INNOVATE in collaboration with Marriott Hotels
photo credit: Yesi Flores
Miami is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. It is also full of female entrepreneurs who are thriving in the Magic City.
So we headed to Miami this past month in partnership with Marriott Hotels to profile three women working and living in the city. Each has a unique relationship with Miami, two of whom having emigrated to the US. These women shared their #travelbrilliantly hacks, tips for success, and why Miami is the city for them.
We stayed at the newly renovated Marriott Stanton South Beach , taking in the sun, sand, and soaking up all the culture Miami has to offer.
GABRIELA GUZMAN, FOUNDER THE JUPITER CIRCLE
LOCATION: LITTLE HAVANA
photo credit: Erica Melissa
Gabriela Guzman, founder of The Jupiter Circle, just finished hosting her Group Strategy Session with six women entrepreneurs. "I've been hosting one-on-one sessions or larger workshops up until now," the creative entrepreneur says, and "I'm excited to lead a more intimate group of women learning from one another, supporting each other and diving deeper into their brand and social media. I believe sisterhood makes everything better."
Her shared creative office space in Little Havana is a perfect example of this. She found the space with her friend Nadia, and they brought in a third friend and business woman, Jen. "We loved being able to create the space in line with our vision, taste and values. Today we also host "Brand New Mornings" in the space - free monthly meetings for creative entrepreneurs to chat about branding, creativity and business."
In regards to the neighborhood she says, "Little Havana reminds me of the homey feeling of Santo Domingo in the 80s. People say 'hi' to you when you're walking down the street, there's salsa playing in the background, and there are options for delicious Latin American food all over the neighborhood. We have a community of artists and makers as neighbors and it's amazing."
Gabby grew up in the Dominican Republic and moved the United States when she was 19. At the time, she says she felt the need to make "sensible" career decisions, and worked for Consulting and Human Resources in New York for several years. Then at 28 she found herself pregnant with her son, laid off, and used it as the impetus to define and pursue her passions professionally. "I started working in Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I loved using my creativity in my work and became so excited to see the power of content and social media platforms to inspire action and make ideas spread." She then felt that calling, that inescapable 'what if,' to "do things 'my way,' own my time and spend much more time with my son. I had never before considered becoming an entrepreneur, but suddenly, starting my own thing was the only option."
The Jupiter Circle has evolved with Gaby as she becomes more clear about what fuels her and can make the greatest impact. "Today," she says, "I help women entrepreneurs define a solid foundation for their business growth, with an authentic brand and a solid social media plan that fits their life and vision."
Morning coffee spot: There's a coffee spot around the corner from our office, San Lorenzo where I get my morning café con leche. It's essentially sugar + milk + coffee and it's perfection.
Place you go when you need a little (or a lot) of inspiration: I'm an extrovert and I get a lot of inspiration from connecting with my closest girlfriends. There's a beautiful courtyard (see photos) right behind our office and we'll hang there and talk things out for hours.
Tourist attraction that’s a guilty pleasure: The Perez Art Museum (PAMM) is absolutely stunning and has one of the best views in the city. It's an absolute must see place. I try to go as often as I can.
The *one* restaurant where visitors have to try that *one* dish: The pan con bistec at Doce Provisions in Little Havana gives me absolute life.
Best place to watch the sunset: I love finding chill beaches in Miami where I can hang with my son and a few close friends. Right by my house Matheson Hammock is a great spot to relax and wind down the day.
Best place to hang when the clouds open up: There's so many! One of my favorites is Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.
Spot in the city you love to be still: This is going to sound crazy, but after not driving for 10 years, driving (without traffic) has been surprisingly therapeutic. When I need to clear my head I find myself just getting in the car and driving around neighborhoods I love. Just driving and listening to music and being in the moment with nowhere to go.
"When I need to clear my head I find myself just getting in the car and driving around neighborhoods I love."
Best drink in Miami: When you're in Miami you HAVE to try a mojito - preferably the one at Ball & Chain at Calle Ocho.
ASHLEY ASPINWALL, BLOGGER & FOUNDER SIDE SMILE STYLE
photo credit: Yesi Flores
A relative newbie to Miami, Ashley Aspinwall is still getting used to the heat and she doesn't drink coffee, which means she hasn't tried Cuban coffee. "I hear it's very potent," laughs the Dallas-bred fashion blogger.
Ashley began blogging her senior year in college after a bad breakup-- "I needed a project," she says. "I had been reading blogs for a couple of years and thought to myself 'I can do that!' and just kind of hit the ground running."
Her parents didn't entirely agree and weren't sold on her ability to create a lucrative career. So she took a job in the corporate world out of college, a stint she credits as "as one of my biggest motivators to make my blog successful."
"I learned pretty early on how valuable being your own boss can be. From setting your own schedule to creative control, the autonomy was such a drastic change. I’m not sure I can ever go back! Although, having a knowledge of corporate infrastructure and that mentality has definitely helped me when I’m working with bigger brands."
Now Ashley has come a long way from her first post where she "was wearing a camel sweater and bright red jeans, awkwardly posing on my apartments fire escape." She's also a long way from home. "Miami is SO different from Dallas," the blogger explains, "which I think is the most exciting thing. I’ve never lived near the water, and I’m getting to experience so many cultures on a daily basis."
She says the making friends and building professional contacts hasn't been the easiest. "Honestly this has been an area that I have definitely struggled in. Due to my busy travel schedule, making new friends hasn’t been the easiest, especially in a transient city like Miami. On the professional end, I always try to attend any events that I’m in town for and make sure to follow up with any contacts I make in the process. With blogging, you never know who could bring you your next job!"
1. Drink a ton of water. Constantly flying is super dehydrating and your skin will seriously thank you for loading up on the H20.
2. Peppermint Oil. It is the swiss army knife of essential oils. I use it for headaches, nausea, stinky uber rides, you name it!
3. I always bring a cashmere travel wrap with me on every trip I take, because planes are freezing.
4. I try to carve out at least a few hours at the beginning of a trip to go off on my own and explore without a plan. It helps me to get the lay of the land and I almost always discover something I never would have found in a guide book.
Favorite spot to shoot: The Beach
Best place to grab a juice: JugoFresh
Tourist spot you haven’t hit up yet, but want to: Joe’s Stone Crab
Secret spot in the city that’s just for you: The Key Biscayne Lighthouse - the beach is never crowded and it’s so beautiful!
Best place to meet new colleagues: Bachour Bakery and Bistro
Best morning meal to grab on the way to the airport: Old School Breakfast at S&S Diner
Most walkable neighborhood: Brickell
Favorite place to dance: FDR at the Delano
Best spot for after work drinks: Sugar Bar at the East
Best Cuban food: Versailles has the best Vaca Frita hands down and you can’t beat the atmosphere!
DANIELA RAMIREZ, BLOGGER & FOUNDER NANY'S KLOZET
LOCATION: DOWNTOWN MIAMI
photo credit: Gabriel Sanchez
Fashion blogger Daniela Ramirez of Nany's Klozet says that "Miami is basically the capital of Latin America."
The Venezuelan-born beauty says she loves being about to speak Spanish every day and buy Venezuelan food in all supermarkets. "Personally," she says, "I'm also a short flight away from home and from my husband's hometown, Puerto Rico. Professionally, many main hispanic magazines and big hispanic fashion brands are based in Miami. There are great opportunities for Latina bloggers here."
She loves shooting downtown for a couple of reasons. "While I love Miami's gorgeous ocean and palm trees, it can get repetitive when it comes to blog backdrops or when I need to do fall-ish outfits." So she says that "Downtown has a great city vibe that can be very versatile. Our downtown is not that big, but there are certain corners that work amazingly."
As for getting comfortable in front of the camera she urges upcoming bloggers to not be shy. "People are naturally curious...some will stare, some will ask you- but most people are just going to keep going with their lives. Also, be aware of your surroundings. I always let people walk by, I try not to interfere or be in their way. You can also avoid shooting in peak hours; for example, Downtown Miami is empty after 5pm."
1. Do not wear makeup on your flight and stay hydrated. I've realized that my skin feels dull and dry if I wear makeup while traveling.
2. Always bring the next day outfit in your carry on, in case your bag goes missing.
3. Always think versatile pieces to avoid over packing- things you can re-wear at least two times.
Best place to get coffee: Panther Coffee in Wynwood
Favorite spot for a date night: Lagniappe House
Favorite place to dance: Ball & Chain, El patio
Best walkable part of the city: Miami Design District
For a healthy meal you head to: Manna Life (see above photos!)
The one tourist attraction that’s a guilty pleasure: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The one tourist attraction you’ve never visited: Jungle Island
The one place any visitor has to hit up: Wynwood (24th Street for Art, Graffiti walls and great small places)
Favorite spot in the city to feel inspired: The Perez Art Museum (PAMM)
Best part of the city to see classic “Miami” art deco style: Ocean Drive
Best place to watch the sunset: South Pointé Park in Miami Beach
Create & Cultivate will be visiting 2 more cities across the United States in partnership with Marriott. For our next city, we're heading to Charlotte. Be sure to check back to see more of the series.