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 – 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

Crop-Top. Belly Jewelry. Sexy Style @ Kid’s Parties.

crop top mom 2

Little Venezuela: This photo was taken in Doral, an area of Miami with an earned nick name of “Little Venezuela”, due to the large population of Venezuelans.  Have you seen Venezuelan women?  Venezuela is no stranger to beauty – besides the US, Venezuela dominates beauty pageants world-wide (I despise beauty pageants, but I’m making a point).

If you’ve seen Venezuelan women, that random statistic is not surprising.  Occasionally (like maybe twice), when I lived in Miami, I was mistaken as Venezuelan.  Usually, it was when I went overboard with my blonde highlights, but my ego would temporarily inflate (for maybe 5 minutes, and then I was back to my usual neurotic stuff).

crop top mia

Miami Mamas: Miami has so many cultural influences, and having a large Venezuelan population has only given us a “beauty nudge”, because they sure are making an effort – even on a Sunday at a kid’s birthday party spot.

Mara’s Personal Thoughts: And ya know what? I LOVE this about Miami.  I know I’m such a repeater, but Miami mamas make a serious effort to look slamming.  Many, many times it’s really annoying for some of us (me) who just want to roll out of bed, and look like a slob (even if I pretend it’s “throwback grunge”).  But I thank these women, for giving me a little beauty push – we all know we feel better when we throw on jeans so tight we can’t breath, and heels so high we can’t walk.  The beautiful Dolly Parton said it well, “When I’m feeling a little low, I put on my favorite high heels to stand a little taller.”.

Here is a link to a piece I wrote about Miami Mom Style, and my years growing up seeing these glamorous women dropping off my friends at school.  Here’s the link:


Pouty Lips at Drop-Off.


Michelle. Hairstylist. Mother. Miami, Florida. January 2015.

First of all, Michelle is awesome, and if In lived in Miami, I would force her to hang out with me.  I make a “face” when I pose.  My brother Seth, still talks about how when we would fight as kids, I would stare at my reflection in the mirror, to admire my various facial expressions.  So Michelle’s pouty lip face makes me beyond happy.

This was the day in Miami when I spotted those very sexy Colombian moms.  I admit to being a bit intimidated to ask for a photo.  I mentioned my apprehension to Michelle, she looked at me and said, “I’ll do it”, and with some Spainglish conversation, the beauties posed without question.

Michelle’s bag is by Nicole Lee.  With a belt, Michelle created an empire waist – which is very flattering and very 1970’s.

Haute Fashion in Humid Climates. Miami Drop-Off.

DSC_0035DSC_0034Lisa. Coral Gables, Florida. December 2014.

Lisa always looks put together and does it in a natural way.  This was a weekend morning and she’s sporting a long floral skirt that’s high waisted with a tight tank to show her naturally thin body.  Her accessories are minimal, and I really like the addition of a few gold bangles. Miami is hot, and it’s hard to not wear cut off shorts every day – you kind of really have to think about your wardrobe from a “it’s hot as hell” perspective.

Lisa is currently raising these adorable little girls, while continuing her involvement in several Miami charities.  She and her family live on Miami Beach.

Fashion Notes: Skirt: Ella Moss, Tank top: Theory, Sandals: K.Jacques St. Tropez, Bag: Botkier

Haute Art Director. Little Haiti Drop-Off.


Karla. Mom. Attorney. Art Director. Little Haiti. Miami, Florida. November 2013.

Photograph of Karla by Jerome Soimaud.

Karla runs Yeelen Gallery with her artist husband, Jerome Soimaud.  The gallery captures the spirit of my friend Karla, who is an attorney with a passion for activism.  She’s smart, beautiful, highly cultured and has some serious style.  Originally from Jamaica, Karla and her husband, who hails from Paris, have made Miami home..sharing art which embodies street culture and brings attention to independent artists, and highlights current issues in our culture.

The neighborhood of Little Haiti, where the gallery is housed is the capital of Miami’s Haitian Community.  Little Haiti has struggled economically, but it has always been, at least for me, a special part of Miami – which gives instant access to another culture, with delicious food, great music and a chance to hear the beautiful sound of Creole and French.

Karla finds much inspiration and lots of love in the community in which Yeelen Gallery is located. Featured recently in The New York Times for bringing attention to incredible art emerging from Little Haiti during Miami’s famed Art Basel,

Below, Jerome exploring art with his daughters.

1475880_10152153461866383_486226136_nphoca_thumb_l_4. key stone charcoal and pencil on canvas 150 x 150 cm 2009

Key Stone, Charcoal and Graphite on Canvas. Jerome Soimaud.

So incredible as I am just picturing walking by these guys in a Miami neighborhood.  This is a must see gallery, check out their website at

Haute Sunday Surf Session. Beach Drop-Off.


Consuelo. Delray Beach, Florida. October 2014.

Surfers Rule in my book!!!

Consuelo is a busy mom, running her website, – Growing up in Miami, all of us are somehow “Latin Gringas”, Consuelo raised in Argentina, has lived on the East and West coast, and observed Latin-Americans living in the states – and she has some funny Larry David commentary…

Delray Beach, a town my grandparents moved to from NY, was known for being a retirement area for North it’s grown, and apparently is an artsy, hip and lively community. The beaches are also beautiful and warm…ahhhh I miss warm beaches!

Consuelo has a great time in life, and besides surfing and writing, she does voice overs in Spanish and English. Obviously not a fashion shot today, but a a cool mom doing a cool activity on a gorgeous Sunday.

Miami Drop-Off is So Haute. Spiky Boots. Cut off Denim.


Daniela. Mom. Fashion Designer. Miami. August 2014.

Daniela has been on Haute Drop-Off before – our kids attended the same school in Miami, so I had the pleasure of checking out her style most mornings and became quick friends..I mean I pretty much darted after her weekly, so it was just a “natural” connection!! I love her designs, and the soft fabrics feel so good against your skin.

Daniela’s clothing company, was started after she finally let herself be herself – if that makes any sense. “I found myself feeling like I was in a cage, and separate from others,” she says. But it was through this self discovery, that Daniela created clothing with affirmations to remind herself and others to live their truth.

In addition to spreading hope through words and fashion, Pure of Heart remains aligned with its truth by using eco-friendly fabric. The 100-percent Tencel jersey is not only deliciously soft, but it is also completely biodegradable and good for the earth. 

Fashion Notes: Boots: Sam Edelman, Top: Pure of Heart, Sunglasses: San Francisco Vintage store, Cut off’s: True Religion, Fringe Bag: Z&L

Daniela was just visiting San Francisco for work, and we got to have a fun night out.  We met at a bar at a friend’s record release party – I already looked out of place in a sea of black clothing, thick “hipster” glasses and Converse.

“Why did everyone look so much alike?”, I asked myself. And I was wearing a short, flared skirt, socks, ankle boots and lots of big earrings- I promise you, my legs were the only ones on display in this area of San Francisco.

I waited for Daniela and Nathalie to show up, and assumed it would be late – after all, in Miami everything starts late and I told them to meet me at 8:00 p.m. (that’s practically lunch time in Miami).  I was hoping they would balance out the place with their style..but when they finally arrived, they were covered up like it was Alaska – “When in Rome?”, I asked my friends, “No Mara, It’s freezing in San Francisco!”.

My point is different cities have different styles, and I get to see the specific city style when I take photos of parents. Daniela sent me this photo, as she was leaving to drop her daughters off at school. I love that in Miami, moms look like Shakira (well Daniela does) and look sexy and stylish – if Daniela wore this look in some other cities, she would get lots of looks – kind of like what I get sometimes.

Daniela is a great balancer – she knows how to look funky, sexy and fashionable .  The issue is some people “don’t get it”, they may not be into fashion, and see short shorts and heels, and think “inappropriate”, but all that matters is you guys “get it”…and that we can appreciate other people, and the way in which they express themselves artistically.




Haute White Pumps Baby. Miami Drop-Off.


Lu. Mom. Artist. Character. Fashion Lover. Coral Gables, Florida. June 2014.

Fashion Notes: Skirt and Top: Do and Be, Heels: Charles David

Perfect example of a good mid-driff situation – she’s so chic in Lime Green, and sexy in those throw back 1980’s white pumps.  I am loving them. Lu is a painter and unlike many artists, she doesn’t retreat for long periods of time, but lives for meeting people.  She’s known for hanging with the Cuban crew at a local Miami cuban coffee spot – it’s a fun place to be at 8:00 am, but only if you are fluent in Spanglish.

She’s French. She’s Natural. She’s “Haute”.


Natalie. Miami, Florida. February 2014.

Natalie is a member of the fashion industry and is well known for her styling.  Her hair is amazing and she has that perfectly French sensibility  – not trying hard, but still looking sexy and effortlessly chic.  The open back blouse is quite refined and pretty.  For those of us with larger “assets”, this type of top will look much different..much!!!

Fashion notes: Steve Madden Shoes, ABS blouse and J Brand Jeans.

Haute Sunday. Rocking after workout gear at Drop-Off.


Lola. Miami, Florida. February 2014.

This is what I do after working out and not having time to change.  I wear my moccasins and throw on a cool jacket and gold hoops.  Lola is majorly dedicated to the art of exercise, I know we can all see that..oh and she has 4 kids! People ask me how I get good pictures in a sea of Lululemon…well, it’s people like Lola who know how to funk up what could of been a boring workout look.

I love the bright socks with Birkenstocks, her pattern, shiny leggings and hole filled Hendrix t-shirt–and of course the oversized sunglasses.