As Jimmy Buffett extols, “Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.” If the dog days of Miami’s summer are getting you down, maybe it’s time to hop in the car and head south for a daytrip to the Florida Keys. While a drive to the end of the road in Key West is best reserved for an overnight trip, you can still get into a Keys state of mind (saltwater, conch fritters, key lime pie and all) with a daytrip as far south as Islamorada. Punch these points into your GPS and your wories will melt away as downtown’s high-rises shrink out of sight in your rear view mirror.

The entrance to Schnebly Redland Winery

The entrance to Schnebly Redland Winery

Stop 1: 10 a.m. Schnebly Redlands Winery & Miami Brewing Co., Homestead

Pay a visit to Miami’s tropical countryside, and the heartland where tomato fields and mango groves  provide the heart of the farm to table culinary movement. An hour’s drive from downtown, you’ll find long, one-lane country road surrounded by acres of farmland. The tempo slows down and the sights consist of flat green fields, lush sturdy palms, and a giant blue sky with cumulous clouds floating lazily in the upper strata.

Here, you’ll find Schnebly Redlands Winery, an only-in-Miami novelty that produces 22 varieties of wine from tropical fruits, like mangos, lychee, passion fruit, guava, starfruit, coconut and even avocado.

“It’s an escape from normal life—cell phones, traffic, noise pollution, cement,” says founder Peter Schnebly, a farmer and packager turned winemaker. In 2012, after eight years producing tropical wines, he added the Miami Brewing Co. to his portfolio. The craft brewery creates beers with a sense of place, like Big Rod Coconut Ale and Shark Bait Mango Wheat Ale.

Come for a tasting and tour ($7-$10) of the sprawling and lush Napa-meets-South-Florida facilities and stay for lunch at the newly opened RedLander restaurant onsite helmed by chef Dewey LoSasso.

The bar at Alabama Jacks. Photo courtesy of Alabama Jacks.

The bar at Alabama Jacks. Photo courtesy of Alabama Jacks.


Stop 2: 12 p.m. Alabama Jacks, Card Sound Road

As you depart the mainland, opt for the road less traveled—Card Sound Road, an alternate route to Key Largo. You’ll soon come across Alabama Jacks, a roadside, water front fish shack where boats tie up and locals while away the afternoon with a fried grouper sandwich and cold lagers. The atmosphere is a little bit country and a lot of Keys color with license plates nailed to the walls, lobster trap and dive buoys strung from the ceiling and the requisite blue marlin mounted above the bar. Stop here for a bite to eat with live music and a boisterous crowd. Don’t skip the conch fritters and smoked fish dip.

A loggerhead sea turtle at the reef.

A loggerhead sea turtle at the reef.


Stop 3: 3 p.m. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

No trip to The Keys is complete without an excursion offshore. Discover some of the most unspoiled sections of the Florida Straits (the third largest barrier reef in the world) with a two and a half hour snorkel trip ($30 adults, $25 children, not inclusive of gear rental) at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The park extends three miles into the Atlantic and runs the length of the shore approximately 25 miles. You’ll learn about the delicate marine ecosystem and swim amidst a variety of coral formations, purple sea fans, yellowtail snapper and rainbow parrotfish. Keep your fingers crossed to spot an endangered loggerhead sea turtle, a stingray gliding along the sandy bottom or a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins playing in the wake of your boat.

Trips depart six times daily and reservations are strongly recommended. Scuba and glass bottom boat excursions are also available, as well as boat rentals and kayak tours.

Surf and turf at the Green Turtle Inn. Photo courtesy of Green Turtle Inn.

Surf and turf at the Green Turtle Inn. Photo courtesy of Green Turtle Inn.


Stop 4: 6:30 p.m. Sid & Roxie’s Green Turtle Inn, Islamorada

Take the scenic Overseas Highway another 20 miles south to Islamorada and watch as the green trees of Key Largo’s hardwood hammocks give way to unobstructed views of pale blue salt marshes. The aquamarine water of The Keys all but surrounds you. If you thought you escaped Art Deco kitsch in South Beach, think again as the neon glowing sign of Sid & Roxie’s Green Turtle Inn lures you in from the road for dinner. It was established in 1947 when the first motorists began making their way down to The Keys.

Today, while it’s no longer an inn to spend the night, the cafĂ© is still open and imbued with Old Florida charm. While the fare and the vibe is casual, the dinner menu offers sophisticated dishes, like fresh caught fish “a la Roxie” with jumbo lump crab, tomato, onion and beurre blanc or “a la Sid” with Florida spiny lobster, orange ginger, vanilla and butter sauce. This is also your chance to end the day with a sweet and tart slice of key lime pie made with a macadamia nut crust.

A view of the beach at the Post Card Inn. Photo courtesy of Post Card Inn.

A view of the beach at the Post Card Inn. Photo courtesy of Post Card Inn.


Stay the Night Option: Post Card Inn Beach Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle, Islamorada

You could turn around after Sid & Roxie’s. But if you’re not in the mood for a two hour drive back to Miami, check into the Post Card Inn Beach Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle a few miles up the road. The sprawling property features an onsite restaurant, tiki bar, pool, beach and marina, and the rooms and common spaces are surprisingly hip and updated with an eclectic beach house aesthetic. You could easily while away the next morning there with a margarita in hand gazing at the Atlantic with whatever Buffett song happens to pop in your head.

A version of this story originally appeared in The Miami Herald’s Tropical Life section, p. E1.


A view of Alma del Pacifico from the beach.


140 Character Overview:

Funky boutique bungalows on remote stretch of CR’s Central Pacific Coast. Black sand beach, swoon-worthy sunsets. At one with Mother Nature.


Sunset, night one.



The exterior of an oceanfront bungalow.


The Vibe:

This place is magical. With roughly 20 colorful private bungalows lining the beach, Alma del Pacifico is what California architect Sherill Broudy imagined Costa Rican vernacular architecture to look like when he designed the resort. Made of stucco, polished wood and mosaic tile all in cool colors, the roof lines have a low, gentle roll that mimics the ocean. Broudy’s wife Charlene is an artist and provided over 150 art pieces throughout the hotel. The effect is a funky ’70s vibe full of abstract shapes, color blocking and natural wood. But it’s as much about what’s outside here, which is made obvious by the bungalow’s ability to open up nearly 180 degrees, providing little barrier to Mother Nature. Open up the sliding glass doors, hop over the concrete patio across a front yard of spongy soil and grass until you reach the black sand beach with dramatic tides. Look around. No one else is there.


Pathway to the beach from one of the bungalows.



An example of the funky art and design.



A view of the beach from inside the bungalow.



The bungalow’s open floor plan is super spacious. Sorry I didn’t make my bed!



I loved this mosaic shower. The doors open up to a back garden for al fresco showering.


The Location:

This is true unspoiled Costa Rican countryside–and surf country–in Puntarenas, sandwiched between Jaco to the north and Manuel Antonio National Park to the south. Esterillos Este is a sleepy town on the coast and there’s almost nothing else around Alma. There’s surf outside your door and at a number of nearby breaks. You can go zip lining in Jaco through the rainforest, catamaran cruising near Manuael Antonio or horseback riding directly from the hotel.


Pretty views of the sea from my patio.



Sunset, night two.

F & B:

Alma has a single restaurant underneath a grand oceanfront thatch palapa. From a traditional Tica breakfast (fried eggs, avocado, plantains, rice and beans and fresh tortilla) to whole fried red snapper or fish tacos, everything is fresh and filling with a true sense of place. The hotel has an onsite garden where much of the fresh produce is grown and there’s also a smoothie menu. This is where you’ll find a chill tiki bar serving all the tropical drinks you can imagine.

The Specs:

Activities concierge
Rates from $209


Nothing like chilling in a hammock post-surf session!



Sunset, night three.


The Verdict:

I’m in love with this place. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, the hospitality is warm. The beach and sunset truly blew my mind.


That’s the face of a happy girl!


Shayne’s Checklist:

Bathrobe: Yes.

Conditioner: No. Also, no lotion in my room.

Bed Comfort Level: 2 Star (out of 5)

This destination gets Shayne’s “I’d like to live here for at least one month” seal of approval. I never want to leave! This would make for the perfect writing/surfing retreat.

From The New York EDITION to the new Whitney, there’s so much to see and do in New York before summer’s end. If you’re planning a late summer trip, I’ve got you covered with something new in every category: Do, Eat, Drink Shop and Stay, plus one bonus—my favorite sailboat-turned-oyster bar, Grand Banks, is back for its second season on the Hudson River.

Do – The new Whitney

The new Whitney designed by Renzo Piano on Gansevoort Street in New York's Meatpacking District. Photo by Ed Lederman.

The new Whitney designed by Renzo Piano on Gansevoort Street in New York’s Meatpacking District. Photo by Ed Lederman.


With last fall’s Jeff Koons retrospective marking the final exhibition in its longtime Upper East Side home, The Whitney Museum of American Art opened the doors to its brand new location in the Meatpacking District on May 1. Situated on Gansevoort St. at the foot of the High Line, the eight-story, boxy-modern Renzo Piano-designed building is an airy, sun-filled space with four outdoor gallery terraces offering sweeping views of the city and the Hudson River.

The inaugural exhibition America is Hard to See (borrowed from a line of poetry by Robert Frost) consists of 600 works by 400 artists composed entirely of its permanent collection’s holdings of over 22,000 works by 3,000 artists. Spanning the entire building and organized chronologically starting with 1900, patrons wind their way from the eighth floor through 23 chapters (each named for the title of an individual work), until they reach present day on the fifth floor.

Brett and me on the Whitney's outdoor terrace.

Brett and me on the Whitney’s outdoor terrace.


With seminal works like Alexander Calder’s Circus, Willem de Kooning’s Door to the River and Jasper Johns’ Three Flags displayed alongside lesser known artists of the same eras, the exhibition aims to shake up our conception of American art history and our view of America, itself. New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz said in his comprehensive and hopeful review, “The Whitney knows how to consider new work alongside old, how to throw together pieces produced in entirely different contexts and watch the sparks fly.” It’s a worthy excursion on so many levels, from the art to the building, to the stunning Hudson River location.

America is Hard to See runs now through September 27. Adult admission $22. 99 Gansevoort St., Manhattan; 212-570-3600.

Eat – Marta

Back in the Flatiron District, restaurateur and Shake Shack impresario Danny Meyer has opened a Roman rustic pizzeria in the lobby of the Martha Washington hotel helmed by chef Nick Anderer. Nestled inside sexy, sleek digs with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, Marta is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. It’s easy to compose a sumptuous Italian feast centered around chef Anderer’s elevated, crispy-thin-crust pizzas at any hour of the day.


The amazing Olive Oil Affogato. Photo by Ted Donath.


Opt for the Cavaloni pizze bianche with Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pickled chili and parmigiano. If it’s brunchtime, throw a fried egg on top. Start with the Cavalo Nero, a bright, acidic lacy kale salad with meyer lemon and parmigiano, as well as the ooey-gooey green risotto croquettes filled with fresh, melted mozzarella and mixed herbs. Most importantly, though, don’t skip dessert. The symphony of flavors in the Olive Oil Affogato—a dense ball of vanilla gelato with honeycomb candy crumble encircled in delicate slices of kumquat and slivers of blood orange topped with beautifully verdant olive oil—is not to be missed. Do as my waiter advised and strive for the perfect bite with all elements on one spoonful.

29 E. 29th St., Manhattan; 212-651-3800.

Drink – Nitecap & 151

Nightcaps at Nitecap. Photo courtesy of Nitecap.

Nightcaps at Nitecap. Photo courtesy of Nitecap.


From purveyors of New York City craft cocktail cool, Death & Co., a pair of new Lower East Side bars have opened across the street from one another on Rivington. Found down an unassuming flight of stairs and catering to a slightly younger, rowdier crowd, the cocktail menu at subterranean Nitecap is just as extensive as its predecessor’s, featuring sections like Aperitifs, Firewater, Nitecaps and more. The menu also includes a well-edited wine and beer list, as well as bar bites. Across the street at 151, the dimly lit, unpretentious scene is similar and the mixologists are just as capable, but imbibers are as likely to order a Tecate and a shot as they are to peruse the drink list. Here, the party lasts a little later and goes a little stronger.

Nitecap: 120 Rivington St., Manhattan; 212-466-3361. 151: 151 Rivington St., Manhattan; 646-490-4338.

Shop –Dahlia

Window shopping at Dahlia. Photo courtesy of Dahlia.

Window shopping at Dahlia. Photo courtesy of Dahlia.


Dahlia is a hip Williamsburg boutique just one block off bustling Bedford Ave. and a worthy trek for fashionable Manhattanites, according to fashion blogger Annie Vazquez of The Fashion Poet. Owned by Miami transplant Stefani Rosendo, Dahlia is a destination not only for chic womenswear, but also unique accessories, jewelry, greeting cards and gifts by emerging New York designers and national labels. From breezy rompers to Brixton festival hats, and healing crystals to delicate tribal- and Art Deco-inspired jewelry, swing by Dahlia for what’s trendy right now.

225 Grand St., Brooklyn; 718-387-6278.

Stay – The New York Edition

A view of The New York EDITION from Madison Square Park.

A view of The New York EDITION from Madison Square Park.


After the instant success of the novel and luxurious Miami Beach EDITION hotel in November 2014, all eyes were on New York City in May for the opening of the brand’s second North American hotel on Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District. The brainchild of Marriott International and famed hotelier Ian Schrager, the EDITION is a large-scale, luxury boutique lifestyle brand with four unique properties worldwide and more in the works.

One of the throughlines between the New York and Miami Beach properties is the use of minimalist glamour and a largely white color palette that’s so effortlessly elegant, you almost fail to notice what’s so special about it—at first. That is, until you take the time to settle in and realize just how expertly conceived the space is for luxuriant relaxation.

Love the cushy, spacious rooms at The EDITION.

Love the cushy, spacious rooms at The EDITION.


Located inside the landmark clock tower building (formerly the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower) erected in 1909 on the eastside of Madison Square Park, design inspiration was drawn from turn of the century Gilded Age glamour and New York City private homes and clubs of that era, conceived by Ian Schrager Company and Rockwell Group.

The billiard room at Clocktower.

The billiard room at Clocktower.


A lobby bar and lounge are separated into two rooms at ground level composed of white oak floors and creamy white Venetian plaster walls with oversized picture windows opening up to the park. Design details, like the yellow backlit glass bar running up to the ceiling, dark walnut barstools backed in serpentine-green velvet with tassel accents and a sculptural white spiral staircase leading to Jason Atherton’s Clocktower restaurant on the second floor, hearken back to Schrager originals like Midtown’s Hudson Hotel and South Beach’s Delano. Another architecturally interesting component is the 30-foot long, black steel fireplace lining the lounge with low-slung chairs and tables inspired by French minimalist designer Jean-Michel Frank.

It’s Back! – Grand Banks

The Sherman Zwicker. Photo courtesy of Grand Banks.

The Sherman Zwicker. Photo courtesy of Grand Banks.


My favorite summer hang from last year—Grand Banks—is back for its sophomore season. Step aboard the historic 142’ wooden schooner F/V Sherman Zwicker, rafted up at TriBeCa’s Pier 25 on the Hudson River, for another summer of oysters, lobster rolls, craft cocktails and cold beer while bobbing on the water with killer Statue of Liberty and sunset views.

Now through October. Pier 25 at N. Moore St., Manhattan

A version of this story original appeared on


What happens when you pair a video blogger with a travel journalist and set them loose on Aruba for 48 hours? It’s not quite a scenario out of The Real World—“when people stop being polite and start getting real”—but hijinks documented on video definitely ensued. I teamed up with Peter Bragiel of In Transit TV to capture the island, thanks to an invitation from the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Check out our video below:

Part of the southern Caribbean’s ABC islands (which includes Bonaire and Curaçao), Aruba is known for its cactus-strewn desert landscape, consistent 82 degree temperatures and its Dutch heritage with a melting pot of cultures. In fact, 95 nationalities are represented on the island, located only 15 miles north of Venezuela, and there are four official languages—Dutch, Papiamento (a native dialect of African and Portuguese origin), Spanish and English.

newMarriott Aruba Aerial shot

A view of the beach from the Aruba Marriott


In exploring Aruba, Peter and I opted to forgo organized tours and looked beyond the typical tourist zones with the objective of unearthing Aruba’s local color at our own pace. Our first move was to walk across the island.

Day 1 – Explore Noord

10 a.m. – Walk across Aruba to Alto Vista Chapel. On In Transit TV, Peter creates episodic travel videos capturing amazing journeys, like the Trans-Siberian Railway, canoeing the Mississippi River and trekking through Mexico and Central America on public transportation. Aruba is about 70 square miles and six miles across at its widest, so we thought it would be a fun adventure to walk from one side of the island to the other.


The Alto Vista Chapel


From the Marriott’s Palm Beach, the eastern and more rugged coast is approximately four miles away. We set out with sneakers, sunscreen and a tourist map to navigate our way through residential Bakval, where we encountered protective neighborhood guard dogs, before hitting a nature trail leading us to the other coast. The sight of the ocean was a relief in the midday heat, and soon we spotted Alto Vista Chapel’s cool yellow walls and terracotta tile roof on the horizon.

A modest sanctuary in the middle of the desert, Alto Vista is also known as Pilgrim’s Church, a fitting title, we thought, considering our journey on foot. Originally constructed in 1750 by Venezuelan missionaries, this one-room chapel was rebuilt in 1952 and is open to public prayer daily.

We found a tiny patch of shade under a cactus and quenched our thirst with fresh coconut water straight from the fruit from a nearby stand before catching a cab back to the Marriott.

1 p.m.  – Lunch at Moomba Beach Bar on Palm Beach. Palm Beach encompasses Aruba’s main hotel zone, lined with lounge chairs, palapas and boats moored just offshore. With plenty of beach bars to choose from, we strolled through the sand to grab lunch at Moomba Beach Bar, a popular spot serving typical beach bar fare, like sandwiches, wraps and salads with plenty of fresh fish on the menu. We washed everything down with a cold, refreshing Balashi, Aruba’s local beer.


3 p.m. – Visit California Lighthouse. Eager to see more of the island, we rented a car and drove up the coast towards the California Lighthouse. Named for the steamship California that wrecked on the island’s northern point in 1891, the lighthouse was erected in 1916 and remains a point of interest in Aruba today.

3:30 p.m. – Sunset at Arashi Beach. Next, it was time to enjoy what most people come to Aruba for, a little rest and relaxation at the beach. We opted for tranquil Arashi Beach, loved by locals, and a great place to end the day with a swim and the sunset.


A tranquil sunset at Arashi Beach.


Aruba is ideal for water sports enthusiasts with ample coral reefs and shipwrecks just offshore for snorkeling and diving, as well as steady trade winds conducive to kite surfing. Peter and I were content to simply cool off in the waters at Arashi with its mellow tide of gentle waves, and take in the scene of local kids and families splashing in the surf.

7 p.m. – Dinner at Old Cunucu House. On the hunt for traditional Arubian cuisine, we came across the Old Cunucu House, in the hotel zone just off the beaten path. With culinary roots dating back to the native Arawak tribe, Dutch influences and its unique island setting, Arubians feast on fresh fish, hearty stews and fried polenta. Many dishes are complimented with hot papaya sauce and covered in gouda cheese.

I ordered one of Aruba’s most traditional dishes, keshi yena, baked gouda typically stuffed with chicken, olives, onions, peppers, cashews and raisins. Peter opted for the higra hasa, beef liver with onions and rice. We started with a sampling of Arubian fried delights, including pastechis stuffed with cheese (similar to empanadas) and the mildly sweet pan bati (traditional Arubian bread).

Day 2 – Explore South

10 a.m. – Drive south to San Nicolaas. Curious about Aruba’s small towns, we took a drive south towards San Nicolaas, passing the capital Oranjestad with its colorful Dutch-style architecture and Santa Cruz, an inland, residential neighborhood dotted with Chinese groceries. In San Nicolaas, we found a sleepy Main Street midday with a few shops and restaurants open, along with the occasional passersby and school children dressed in uniform.


Aruba’s barren desert landscape.


11 a.m. – Visit Baby Beach and Colorado Point. At the southern end of the island, we cruised the coast and visited the remote, wind-whipped Bachelor’s Beach, Baby Beachand Seroe Colorado Natural Bridge providing unspoiled views of the island’s craggy southeastern perimeter.

1 p.m. – Lunch and Balashis at Charlie’s Bar. Hungry for lunch, we circled back towards San Nicolaas to Charlie’s Bar, a funky, local dive covered in crazy ephemera from the inside out. Think, license plates, funny signs, portrait drawings, international flags, stickers, sailor’s knots, sports memorabilia and just about anything else you can imagine. We refueled on conch fritters (admittedly, more fritter than conch) with a variety of house made “honeymoon” papaya and mango hot sauces, and of course, a couple of cold, refreshing Balashis.


Behind the scenes: Peter capturing the magic at Charlie’s Bar.


3 p.m. – Explore Arikok National Park. Our final attraction for the day was Arikok National Park whose wild, desert terrain covers 18 percent of Aruba. Famous for its plateaus of limestone cliffs and caves, Arikok provides dramatic vistas of waves crashing against the rocky coast. While some portions of the park, like the Natural Pool, are only accessible by four-wheel drive, we managed to navigate through the Guadirikiri Caves,the Fontein Caves and Boca Prins during our visit. We encountered goats, lizards and a herd of friendly donkeys along the way.


Discovering donkeys at Arikok National Park


7:00 p.m. – Dinner at West Deck. To celebrate our final night in Aruba, we dined at the newly opened West Deck in Oranjestad. Situated on a covered deck on the Caribbean Sea, twinkling with string lights, the cuisine is a modern spin on traditional Arubian dishes in a small plates format. Must haves include fried funchi (polenta covered in Dutch gouda), Trocadero garlic shrimp and fish sliders with papaya. And for Peter and I, no meal in Aruba was complete without a frosty Balashi beer and a cheers to paradise.

A version of this story originally appeared on


I have some exciting news to share. For the last two months, I’ve been working day and night to create the Miami Travel guide for London’s Telegraph newspaper. It’s an interactive guide with over 120 things to do, see, eat, drink, shop, beach and stay, plus there’s a couple of itineraries and background info to get the most out of your time here. Basically, it’s where I’m sending anyone looking for advice on where to go in Miami from now on. It even has a funny line drawing of me to go with my bio–you’ll just have to download the app to see what I mean!

Head to the App Store now and search for Telegraph Travel.

As the Telegraph’s Miami Expert, my City Break Guide on their website features much of the same content.

I’ve also written 40 Miami hotel reviews for The Telegraph with everything from luxury to more affordable options, so check it out.

And stay tuned, my Weekend In Miami itinerary will run in the paper in the coming weeks!

Here’s a fun little video I made with Vogue Eyewear on what I love most about living in Miami. Of course, it’s the beachy lifestyle.

“South Beach is famous for the beach, so you’ve got to take advantage of it,” I explain. “I love anything from going for a swim in the ocean. If there’s waves to try to go surfing. Sailing. You can go for a run on the beach. Do yoga.”

After this video, I can now add slo-mo running on the beach as a skill on my resume. 😉 Hope you enjoy!

New Zealand artist Henrietta Harris marks her United States solo debut with “The Hum” at the Robert Fontaine Gallery May 9 during Wynwood’s Second Saturday Art Walk. Using watercolor and sometimes ballpoint pen, she creates near-photoreal portraits that are seemingly incomplete, veering towards the surreal. Oftentimes her subjects faces are distorted, dislocated or even erased altogether. With her portraits’ deliberate glitches set against voided backgrounds, her paintings calls for deeper examination of her subjects. It’s as if they’ve been momentarily transported to a borderless landscape where they seem both large and small with disregard for time and space.

We caught up with Harris to discuss her exhibition, her medium and what’s next for the artist. The Hum runs through May 17.

Tell us about what we can expect from “The Hum.” 

The best body of work I’ve ever done, with larger, detailed, more accomplished paintings and drawings. I’ve had longer than ever before to work on the pieces for a solo show so I took my time at the beginning and I think it paid off.

The Hum, 22 x 30”, Watercolor on paper, 2015

The Hum, 22 x 30”, Watercolor on paper, 2015


What does the show title mean?

The title The Hum is loosely based on the phenomena of a low-frequency humming not audible to all people, where the person hearing it goes loopy from the persistent sound seemingly no one else can hear. I also like the ambiguity of the phrase, the way the words look written down, the feeling of simultaneous movement and stillness.

You work with watercolors. Why that medium and how does it inform your subjects? 

I taught myself watercolors after art school at a time where I didn’t really have much room to spread out particularly, and was travelling around a bit so they were easy to transport, compact and tidy. it wasn’t really a conscious decision but rather a practical one.

Are there particular challenges or benefits you encounter with watercolors?

I’m not sure they’re designed to paint in the scale I’ve been using them in for this particular body of work, but it’s been a good learning curve. They’re non-toxic and odourless which is good in the small shared studio I work from, and soothing to paint with. There’s something nice about repeating the layers over and over until I’m happy.

#4, Landmarks & Features Series, 22 x 30”, Ballpoint pen on paper, 2015

#4, Landmarks & Features Series, 22 x 30”, Ballpoint pen on paper, 2015


Tell us about your subjects and the decision to oftentimes distort their faces or heads with what looks like a brushstroke. What are you trying to convey? 

It was something I came up with about four years ago while designing a poster for the musician Ariel Pink- I wanted to give the portrait a psychedelic feeling. I then took it further and played around and fine-tuned the look. I like trying to mix abstraction and figurative ideas together and conjuring up emotions, giving a feeling of movement, sadness, hope, the usual! I really like experimenting with cancelling, blocking out, or changing portraiture. Challenging the norm, that sort of thing.

And how does that technique work, technically speaking?

It’s a secret. I get a bit of help from photoshop.

Makes Sense, 29.5 x 41”, Watercolor on paper, 2015

Makes Sense, 29.5 x 41”, Watercolor on paper, 2015


Your subjects are often painted onto a rather nebulous background. Tell us about that decision.

I love the look the watercolor paint gives to backgrounds, no matter how many layers you do it still looks fragile and delicate and I don’t like placing my subjects in actual landscapes or rooms- I like the other worldly and focused feeling they get having the backgrounds like that.

What’s next for you?

I’m in a group show in Tokyo at the end of May, and after that I have no idea! The Hum has taken up my brain for months.


140 Character Overview:

Tower of sexiness straddling the High Line in NYC’s Meatpacking District. Peek-a-boo exhibitionist rooms, all mirrors & windows. Party spot.


I loved this corner standard queen room with views north to the Empire State Building and DVF’s flagship.



Prime views of the city and the Hudson in this corner room.

The Vibe:

The epitome of a trendy New York City hotel, The Standard High Line (848 Washington St., New York; 212-645-4646) is a hot spot destination in the Meatpacking District. More than just a place to lay your head at night, New Yorkers flock to The Standard for weekend day drinking and ping pong at the Biergarten, rooftop cocktails in the summertime and late night dancing year round at Le Bain, dinner or brunch at the Grill and celeb spotting at The Top of The Standard (aka the Boom Boom Room)–if they gain access.


Hello Hudson, I love you.



That’s a welcome I can get used to.



On my second stay, I was upgraded to a Superior King facing south. It was a bigger room, but we thought the placement of this TV was a super awkward, view-obstructing buzzkill.



South-facing view. What up Freedom Tower?

The Location:

Located in the heart of trendy Meatpacking District, the neighborhood has gone through a renaissance over the last decade becoming first the go-to neighborhood for nightlife circa 2003, and then a mecca for smart fashion boutiques and flagships. Finally, the refurbishment of the High Line, which opened in 2009 as an elevated urban park running along the length of the Hudson River, reinvigorated and solidified the Meatpacking’s place as a perennially hot Manhattan neighborhood. The Standard is in the heart of it all putting you in walking distance of incredible shopping, dining and nightlife and a short jaunt to other awesome neighborhoods like the West Village, West Chelsea, Union Square and Flatiron.


Sexy mirrors and glass make for fun bathroom selfies. Also for really fun baths and showering experiences. The views and design are a double-edged sword. Not much for privacy, but so much to look at!



In the superior king, the soaking tub is right next to the shower for side by side bathing.


F & B:

The Standard’s dining and drinking options are various and plenty, giving it the feel of an adult funhouse. In the spring and summertime, stumble upon the open air Biergarten under the High Line, and it will be packed to the gills with revelers swilling German beer and soaking up the good life (in the winter, it’s glass-enclosed and also fun).

The Standard Grill doesn’t disappoint with American bistro fare at breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch. From a mouthwatering cheeseburger to oysters to homemade donuts, you can’t go wrong with their well-executed classic, indulgent fare.

And then there’s The Top of the Standard and Le Bain, both infamous nightlife destinations. The former is known for its tough door, sweeping skyline views and as the place where Solange Knowles went cray-cray on Jay-Z in the elevator. The latter is a club known for its eclectic DJ lineup, outdoor rooftop with killer views and a plunge pool where you can buy a swimsuit from a vending machine while you party.


So many good times at the Standard Biergarten.



Sophisticated cocktailing at The Top of The Standard at sunset–and those views!



One way to do coffee and bagels in New York. At a cafe table outside at The Standard Grill.

The Specs:

338 rooms
18 stories
5 dining and drinking destinations
Ice skating rink in the winter
Rooftop creperie in the summer
Free WiFi
Meeting & events space
Rates from about $395 per night


Memories! Photo boothing with Krista and Ted.

The Verdict:

I’m obsessed with this place. I love everything about it. The rooms and their bathrooms and views are sexy and beautiful, if a little small. No matter what mood strikes, there’s always something fun to do right in the hotel, and the location is perfection, putting me a short walk to many of my favorite Manhattan things. If anything, hospitality can be a little touch and go (during my second stay, we never got turn down service), but it’s not enough to dissuade me from totally loving this place.


Shayne’s Checklist:

Bathrobe: Yes. A plush, luxurious black robe with a hood.

Conditioner: Yes. Kiss My Face products are to die for. I always steal the honey humectant hand lotion.

Bed Comfort Level: 3 Stars (out of 5).

This destination gets Shayne’s “I’d like to live here for at least one month” seal of approval. Duh! Love NYC. Love Meatpacking. Old home.

Looking for a resource for all your Florida travel needs? I’ve joined the team of bloggers at the Florida Buzz powered by Marriott to give you the scoop throughout the year on what’s happening in the Sunshine State.

Rooting for our home teams at Spring Training in Florida with my friend Becky.

Rooting for our home teams at Spring Training in Florida with my friend Becky.


We’re midway through March and that means Spring Training in Florida! Check out my complete guide to navigating baseball’s intimate and exciting pre-season here. (Go Yankees!)

Miami's historic Tower Theater on Calle Ocho.

Miami’s historic Tower Theater on Calle Ocho.


In March and April, three major film festivals hit Miami, Palm Beach and Maitland. For film buffs, the festivals are not to be missed, but these cities also have awesome indie theaters to check out year round. You can read all about them here.

Clockwise from top left:

Clockwise from top left: Jenn Quillen, Zippy Sandler, Tara Settembre and me!


I’m joined by three other Florida insiders, so be sure to keep tabs on the Florida Buzz while you’re looking for fun things to do in Florida.

ExhaleSpa.CoreFusionJanuary 14, 2015-9311

Core Fusion Extreme launched at Exhale Spa at the EPIC Hotel on March 12 and you can enjoy free classes through March 18. Sign up here. To learn more about this incredible bootcamp-inspired class, which includes five heart-pumping circuits including plyobox, core balls, gliders, TRX suspension training, and heavy hand weights, check out my preview of the class at New York’s Flatiron.

So how can you win a 10-pack of classes to Exhale Miami and get into the shape of your life with Core Fusion Extreme? Here’s how:

1. Follow @exhalespa on Instagram

2. Follow @shaynebenowitz on Instagram

3. Post a pic of you in a power pose and use #CFXMiami

4. Tag a friend in the pic

Deadline: March 18 and I’ll announce the winner then!