Haute Restaurateur Mama. Weekend Drop-Off.

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Vanessa. Mom. Model. Restaurateur. Marin County, March 2015.

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Vanessa is one of the owners of the Real Restaurants Group, www.realrestaurants.com – They include local and famed, Picco, Buckeye Bungalow and Bar Bocce. When I stopped Vanessa, I knew she was a model. She’s a woman you notice, her beauty is obvious, but her smile, warmth and charm are what captivated me.

Sometimes beauty can be intimidating.  Individuals I know who are model beautiful have explained (don’t roll your eyes) having to play down their looks to seem more approachable. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I once wrote about beauty being intimidating in this HuffPost piece, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mara-menachem/beauty_b_2480591.html?


This is why I believe in the power of a smile. I smile at people all the time — I’m sure it seems weird.  When I was eating at Elio’s on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a group of people sat eating dinner – a woman looked in my direction, I gave her a huge smile, taken by surprise, she looked at me and reciprocated. As she walked out to leave, she walked up to me and said “I was so taken a back by your beautiful smile – no one does that anymore.  It’s a simple gesture, that means so much, so thank you for reminding me of that.”. She then mentioned the huge piece of broccoli stuck in my teeth.

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Fashion Notes: Boots: Enzo Angiolini, Top: Ralph Lauren, Jeans: Avedon by Citizens of Humanity, Sunglasses: Gucci imported from Italy, Handbag: Pikolinas

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I love Vanessa’s handbag.  It’s nice to carry something that’s so unique with no logos. Although I love a classic designer bag – especially vintage, I usually wear bags with no obvious labels.

I have frequented many of Vanessa’s spots, they are bustling and alive – kind of like The Smith’s song “take me out tonight, because I want to see people and I want to see life”.

Haute Drop-Off Havana, Cuba.


Havana, Cuba. Grandmother and her Granddaughter. March 2015.

Fashion Shots: Jan Silverman

My friend Jan lives in Mexico City and travels the world looking for new fabrics for her designs, and meeting interesting people – her latest location, Havana, Cuba.  All of us who grew up in Miami have a special connection with Cuba.  Jan was able to spend a week in Havana, and send me some photos of the people.  Like I imagined, Havana is filled with bright colors, smiles – even if the people don’t have much.


Father and his boys in Havana. March 2015.


Mother and daughter hand in hand. Havana. March 2015.

Notice the garbage on the street and the unfinished sidewalks. I also spot men wearing famed Cuban shirts, Guayaberas.  These short sleeve button downs are a staple in Cuba, and Miami actually. They are made for hot, humid weather.


Abuela is smiling. Hair bandana, leopard halter, cuffed jeans and nude sandals. How it’s done in Havana.


Papi with his boys and the neighborhood kids, leaning against a 1950’s car.  Rollerblades seen on four of the kids – glad they are being kids.

Chanel, Dior, LV Bags. 7 Inch Heels. How Miami Recycles.


Melissa Clarin. Founder, Pinecrest Marketplace. Miami, Florida.

My friend Melissa Clarin is the opposite of me – she’s decisive, organized, structured and neat – all while being really fun. Melissa is a lot like the character Olivia Pope in Scandal. Melissa is a fixer. Melissa had an idea to help people sell their unwanted goods to people in a safe manner..She formed a membership only group in Miami, where you have to know someone to be invited.  Melissa’s unwavering dedication and no ounce of ADD, has grown her idea into a huge revenue builder for Miami. I’m proud of my friend, a Haute Mom and entrepreneur.  

Your Weight Loss is our Gain, and other benefits of Pinecrest Marketplace

Who knew old stuff would bring a community together? I’ve been watching you Pinecrest Marketplace.  Your expensive stilettos, designer handbags, spiked heels, Mid-Century Modern furniture and some clothing that still hasn’t made its way back in fashion.  I’ve appreciated and participated in the Facebook banter regarding posted items.  And I’ve witnessed first hand, how selling and buying other people’s stuff has brought a community closer.

As a lover of all things worn, old, retro, vintage and just plain used, I’ve been drooling over some of the items on Pinecrest Marketplace.  A Fendi bag in animal print reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw, a Chanel fanny pack (which I coveted, but couldn’t afford), beaded dresses fit for a Novella etc…who knew your old stuff would make fellow Miami residents more stylish?

Pinecrest Market Place has taught me a lot about human behavior, oh and my rule adhering friend Melissa. Melissa has to be a strict enforcer, because let’s face it–all of us would break the rules if we could.  I’ve pointed out my various observations to Melissa, with not much validation. She’s not in this to judge, only to make our lives easier. So since I live in California now, and don’t have to deal with your reaction to my witty commentary – here are some tips I’ve put together:

Bargains: Reducing something by $5.00 is not a bargain. May I suggest using percentages to make it seem like a really good deal.

Your fashion mistake is another person’s fashion triumph:  Aren’t you Pinecrest fashionistas so lucky? The fashion mistakes of your past, are now the investments of your future. And since when do bad fashion decisions come with a surplus of cash?

Your weight loss is our Gain: CrossFit, the biggest thing to hit the suburbs since Jane Fonda’s 1980’s hey day – has transformed your body into a lean muscle machine. In other words, you will no longer wear anything that doesn’t cling to those hard earned muscles. Lucky for you, Pinecrest Marketplace has people happy to buy your gently used Lululemon yoga pants and sports bras. Ya see your weight loss is our gain..well, in workout clothing.

Community: When I was shopping on Craigs List, I always said to myself, “is this ___ worth the possibility of being murdered?” Now, all you think about is if the item is worth selling to someone who lives in your community, has mutual friends, and knows where you live.  This knowledge ensures quality..because no one wants to disappoint fellow neighbors.  Melissa has created a safe and easy way to sell our old and new shit… and we love her for that.

Stripper Shoes: Donate them to The Booby Trap. Miami already has a reputation that’s been hard to dismantle. Acrylic shoes are the official shoe wear of strippers, which is great for “show” business. But not a mother negotiating the ridiculous deli line at Publix, In an attempt to get sliced turkey for her kids lunches. I even slipped across a grocery store floor in reasonable ankle boots.  Wearing these 7-inch acrylic heels could cause any innocent person, no matter how coordinated, a debilitating neck injury. (BUT if you do see a mom at school drop-off in this get up, please send me a photo ASAP for Haute Drop-Off), my website is www.hautedropoff.com – please send all stripper mom photos via the link.

Another Man’s trash IS another man’s treasure: This does not apply to used undergarments.  The funny thing about PMP, is that we all know each other. And that still hasn’t stopped these listings.  No level of embarrassment has stopped you guys from listing used underwear and bras.  Believe me when I say this, unless they are Mick Jagger’s old tighty whities, no one and I mean no one will buy or take used underwear for free. When you’ve retired your undergarments, please dispose of them immediately.

Bad Fashion Mistakes: I’m sorry to break the news, if you notice ridiculous amounts of listings for “specific” logo’d gems, this is a clear indication that even in suburban Miami, no one wants them.  Old 1990’s suits? Some maybe from The Limited Express? I’m ashamed that you’ve held onto these garments, but please don’t perpetuate the 1990’s era of bad suits, if you care at all about Pinecrest maintaining some dignity.

Follow the Rules: The person at the helm of PMP, is one of the most organized, detail oriented humans I know. Melissa is soley responsible for taking our clutter and baggage, and turning it into an organized revenue stream for Pinecrest.  Now, I will say Melissa is strict, that’s true. She will not bend the rules, and for someone like me who constantly breaks rule–it’s especially difficult dealing with someone who’s fair. But that’s why PMP is a great success, and will continue to grow and prosper. Oh and if you missed the boat on early membership, start hoarding now – I hear PMP is harder to get into then a packed night at Zuma.

Bootlegs and Lace

Cheap Dress, Two Ways. Mara’s Picks.


Mara. Marin County. March 2015.

Fashion Notes: Dress: Urban Outfitters, Bag: Chanel, Heels: Pour la Victoire, www.pourlavictoire.com Jacket: Uniqlo, www.uniqlo.com/us/, Earrings: Door Knockers bought on Amazon

I bought this dress on the sale rack, when I walked into Urban Outfitters in search of a fanny pack that was out of stock on line – I wish this weren’t true. But it is – I still am into fanny packs. The dress was probably like $20, and I knew I could hook it up with amazing accessories. Clothing is fabric and is so easy to make stylish..all with accessories and a little creativity.


I admit I don’t feel totally comfortable in these socks.  But it doesn’t stop me from showing you how to pull them off. This look with the heels is really something I would only wear at night, on the corner, looking for a date..I’m only kidding. My Bags and shoes are the most expensive part of this look.


I suggest wearing a longer skirt to show a peak of skin between the socks and end of the skirt. This gap for me is fine, but if you want to show less skin – go for something right above the sock line.


The jacket open.


I’m more comfortable negotiating these socks pushed down with ankle boots. A long jacket is amazing over a short dress – it keeps things balanced. And in a city, with wind and walking – something needs to protect you from the dress/wind situation.

Fashion Notes: Dress: Urban Outfitters, Boots: The Frye Company, www.thefryecompany.com, Jean Jacket: Zara, www.zara.com, Sunglasses: Polaroid from Nordstrom, www.nordstrom.com


And lowering the socks changes the entire look.


I wear this combo day and night – fashion is exciting and can be outrageous. But no matter how much I love fashion, I tend to put on what feels most comfortable. I am not into feeling awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin for the sake of fashion.


Tupac’s Home Town is so HAUTE.

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Marin City, California. March 2015.

Dresses handmade in Africa. I appreciate this mother’s connection to her roots, through typical clothing found in certain parts of Africa.

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Mother and daughter.

It’s special that her daughter is learning about her cultural traditions because of her mother’s effort. Fashion can be SO deep and meaningful, all while being fun.


Marin City is a historic African-American community in Marin County. I’ve been hanging out there and feel majorly at home -it’s such a warm neighborhood.  Apparently, In the early 2000’s, Marin City experienced attention for its crime, and unfortunately many people have held on to those beliefs.  It’s always such a shame to me, when a local community judges another local area. It happens in Miami, and I was lucky enough to experience working in neighborhoods, some people wouldn’t drive through – all out of fear. I gained so much – friends, good food and new experiences.

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Marin City is pretty famous.  It all started because Jack Kerouac lived in Marin City and Mill Valley, and makes mention to this in his famed book, On The Road – referring to them as “Mill City”.  Additionally, Tupac Shakur lived in Marin City and went to the local high school here – in at least a couple of his rhymes, Tupac mentions being surrounded by rich kids who couldn’t relate to his struggles – and how frustrating that was for a young kid.

Most kids from Marin City are certainly not economically advantaged, yet they attend high school in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States.  Apparently, community activists are trying to get kids from both communities to come together at school. I get it, it’s more comfortable to be “safe” and not go outside your comfort zone   – but once you do it, it changes your life for the better. At least for me, that’s always been the case.


Redheads have More FUN. Haute Baseball Drop-Off.

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Fairfax, California. March 2015. Little League Kick Off Day.

Maybe redheads have more fun? I always can tell when a parent was also a model – they know how to pose and look at the camera.

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This mama looks like she’s a member of the cast, a long side Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell, of the film League of Their Own.  

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She and her family lead the little league kick off parade every year in Fairfax, California.

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A couple who share similar style and taste in sneakers.

Timberland’s. Huge Gold Hoops. MCM. So HAUTE.


Cheryse. Marin County, California. March 2015.


When I eyed I huge gold hoops, Timberland’s and an MCM bag inside Nordstrom – I pretty much lunged into Cheryse. She was so sweet, and accommodating to my crazy Mara requests. Like can you put your purchases down, and follow me outside for a brief photo shoot?


Fashion Notes: t-shirt & jacket: Forever 21, www.forever21.com leggings, H&M, www.hm.com, boots: Timberland, www.timberland.com, bag: MCM, www.mcmworldwide.com

The MCM bag is AMAZING.  I can’t wait to be in NYC and see how the cities most fashionable puts together this re-emerging brand.


So Cheryse has fashion smarts – Timberland’s are big again, and popping up on the feet of the most fashionable in major cities.  The new way to wear them? Pair them with a designer bag and a short skirt,  I’ve even seen them with long skirts.


My love for large earrings will never fade..they are just sexy. Large hoops will automatically add some serious appeal. Love this mom’s look – take note. And I can’t wait to rock some Timberland’s with a super short dress!!!!!

Haute MAMA. LA Drop-Off. Art’s Coolest Players.

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Adarsha, Joe and Juniper. MAMA Gallery. Los Angeles. 2015. Photographs by Angela Izzo

Photos: Fashion shots by the INCREDIBLE Angela Izzo. Look forward to another post about Angela’s work. She’s a filmmaker, photographer and creative visionary. Her resume is an impressive one, shooting celebrities, artists, musicians etc..but her unique ability to capture a moment in time, is something I admire greatly. Check out her work, http://www.izzoimages.com

Fashion Notes: Adarsha is wearing an African inspired print dress with gold accessories. Juniper is dressed in J Brand. Joe is wearing a T-shirt from American Apparel.

Red Lips: And lets not forget Adarsha’s red lipstick – a must for every blonde woman! It has to be the right shade, or it looks severe. I’ve tried pulling off red lipstick, and my kids seem traumatized every time I attempt it. I feel to “VA VA VOOM” and like I should be working for Heidi Fleiss. Here are some tips, http://beauty.allwomenstalk.com/dos-and-donts-of-wearing-red-lipstick-that-any-makeup-lover-should-know

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Adarsha grew up in Brooklyn in a free spirited family (i’m tight with Adarsha’s sister). Her sophisticated taste in art, design and clothing is inspired by this upbringing.  Being raised in a major city causes accidental exposure. When you walk, take the subway or a public bus – you are constantly observing people  – places – things.

Adarsha founded and directs the recently opened MAMA Gallery in LA. With a diverse range of instillations and exhibits, it’s not surprising that MAMA is the new kid on the block, receiving lots of attention from the Contemporary Art world.


MAMA Gallery gives a peak at the multi-dimensional world of art – how creativity can be executed using a multitude of materials and mediums.  For major inspiration, check out MAMA in LA, http://www.mama.gallery and for suggestions on current pieces for sale, call the gallery. And you’ll be inspired by Adarsha’s fresh perspective on the Contemporaty Art world.

As a new mom, Adarsha has made the gallery a visual playground for Juniper – pretty inspiring for a child to be surrounded by multi-faceted creative visions.


Gold earrings by Anna Sheffield.


I’ve been lucky to be exposed to contemporary art by my step-father. I love visiting the galleries in Chelsea, like the Famed Gagosian Gallery, http://www.gagosian.com and have had the privilege of attending Art Basel in Miami most years.  It’s great to see the next generation of galleries popping up with new artists and inspirations.

When in LA, visit MAMA  – I promise you will leave feeling inspired. Art is an investment, but should be purchased when you truly feel connected with the piece.




Sexy Tattoos. Little League is Haute.

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Fairfax, California. March 2015.

I love these tattoos. They are stylish and really pretty to observe. Little league is hot! This was taken at the Little League baseball kick off in Fairfax.  It was a parade with floats, 1980’s music blasting and plenty of cool parents. The town is a throw back to the 1950’s – only with a hippie, bohemian vibe – that is special. This area is one of the most non-judgmental places I’ve ever lived – it has that community feeling without the constraints of traditional, conservative values.

This very pretty mama was watching her offspring in the parade, while I quickly snapped photos. Her tattoos are just pretty – and her look is reflective of her body art. I guess no matter what, this mom will always look stylish….I’ve wanted henna type tattoos on my hand for a while, but not sure I can deal with the permanence of a tattoo – What can I say? It’s hard to commit.