Karen’s Kudos this month are more diverse than ever, ranging from a service to help you find the best credit card value for your travel needs and new gift shops like Assure Home and The Showroom Miami to put on your list, to a recommended jewelry repair shop, new home fragrance sprays and an exhibit you wouldn’t believe you’d like but you will.
What credit cards give the most value for dollar spent? Since many airlines started calculating reward miles based on the cost of the ticket rather than the number of miles flown, it makes more sense than ever to look for the credit cards that give you the most value for your dollar. If you have the time and patience, you can sort through the numerous options. But not I. So what to do? Points Pros has a terrific new service that will tell you which credit card or cards to get based on your goals. It starts with a questionnaire that asks things like where you hope to travel in the next two years, how you like to acquire miles, how much you tend to spend a month on your credit card and more. Then, they make recommendations in a conference call followed by a written report. I used them recently and they revamped my credit cards with great result. The cost of the service, $200. Well worth it.
Two new home décor and gift shops have opened that are well worth a visit, each with attractive, well curated selections. Formerly one of the original owners of Studio LX and Blush in South Miami, Marilyn Sanchez turned her sights to a concept store in opening The Showroom in Coconut Grove. Find everything from Hunting Season’s handsome exotic skin handbags and great basic clothing pieces in neutrals and natural fabrics, to furniture and throw pillows, jewelry and recycled orchid pots.
Over in Coral Gables near the Village of Merrick Park find Assure Home which is another go to place for all matter of handsome, decorative items for the home — fine towels, accessories for all rooms, and gift items like candles and espresso cups. Best sellers are lovely boxes with crystal and gemstone adornments, Kelly Wearstler lighting fixtures, and furniture based on vintage designs. My favorites were a box that was a modern take on a pre-Colombian pot, though made of a shahgreen like fabric in a navy blue; gold and silver plated cuff bracelets and rings made by various Latin American designers; and colored alligator belts with serpentine silver and gold plated belt buckles. Prices range from $30 to $7000.
Need a necklace restrung or fine or fashion jewelry repaired? Barberis Gems in the Seybold building downtown is the place to go. They’re professional, quick, reasonable, and a delight to deal with. Seybold has valet parking too.
Leave it up to LAFCO to always come up with some of the top soaps, body creams and now home fragrance mists. The mists, their newest offering, is made with natural essential oils and fragrances that linger, but are never overpowering. You can choose from 12 different fragrances ranging from chamomile lavender and French lilac to marine, rosemary eucalyptus and fresh cut gardenia. My favorite is the Sea & Dune that is fresh, airy and smells like nature. They’re available for $40 at lafco.com.
A big surprise to me was how much I enjoyed the exhibit on body decoration, piercing and tattooing at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU as I’m not a big fan of the latter. Pierce, Mark, Morph traces the ancient traditions of body modification like changing the shape of the skull, evident in the exhibition’s Pre-Columbian objects alongside works by contemporary artists who incorporate transformative body art in their creative process. Think gold plating your tongue and gums, piercing the torso with thin chains that radiate from the body, totally covering the head with strands of pearls, and the nude body becoming one with floral wallpaper (difficult to describe, but you get the picture).
Body modification was the launching point for this exhibition,” said Maryanna Ramirez, the exhibition’s curator. “We then started looking at ways that artists today were using similar methods of body alterations to express their personal views and passions. Modifying the human form is complex and varied. Audiences are familiar with piercings, tattoos, plastic surgery, and other forms of alteration, which are all common today. For many of the contemporary artists in the exhibition, the process of transforming the body is as important as the artistic outcome,” added Ramirez.
The show runs until February 12. And while you’re there, another winner is the Narciso Rodriguez costume show that combines his contemporary fashions with abstract works of art and a brilliant montage. See my earlier writeup.