In what part of town do you live?
In the Redland
How long have you lived in the Redland?
We moved down here in April of 2020. I was born in Miami and I’ve been in Miami off-and-on my whole life.
Did you move in reaction to the pandemic?
A little bit. We were in the Grove. I came back to Miami fulltime in 2014, and was working at the Frost Science Museum. I left in 2018 and was traveling at the time the pandemic happened. I had just had my first child. She was six months old. I wasn’t working and my partner was working internationally, so pretty remote. I grew up in California, in the canyons. I was used to more nature than I felt like I had access to in Miami.
What’s it like living in the Redland?
I love having space. There’s pros and cons, you know. I miss easy access to seeing friends and family and access to beaches and ocean. We ended up finding a really special property. It’s not a big property, it’s just an acre, but it’s a log home. The neighbors are really special people who are active in permaculture. They’re both retired business people building a wonderful utopia on their property. It’s really cool to be around and witness.
The property we bought has a bunch of giant raised beds. So, I’ve learned how to garden and grow. Really, the decision was pinned around my child, who’s now two. I was thinking what sort of environment I wanted for her formative years. I thought of what was magical for me as a child. It was always nature and feeling like I was exploring and finding new things. And I remember pretty vivid moments of feeling like I was somewhere that no one has ever been. I wanted to find a situation like that for her. It’s a pretty magic spot.
What type of work were you doing at the Frost Museum?
I ended up getting a job there that was supposed to be a two year project and it actually took six years. I started there as an exhibit developer, developing the content for the new museum and ended up becoming the creative director for the last two years. It was really humbling because I went into it thinking naively, as someone who’s young and has visions for what a potential science museum could be.
How does one become an exhibits designer?
It feels like my former life now. I’ve had so many lives. I ended up going to the east coast for undergrad and studied fine art, in Vermont. After I graduated there, I moved around and ended up back here in Miami around the time that Art Basel, Miami was starting out. I came here and sort of tried to figure out what I wanted to do because I had an art degree. At 18 years old, I was fine creating art for the rest of my life. Art Basel was really building itself here, I ended up getting all these crazy jobs. They were more production type jobs, but with international scale artists, that I normally would never have been exposed to.
Eventually that led me to New York, in 2008, and the day I got there, the Dow dropped and there was no work. I ended up going to grad school at NYU in a creative technology program because of the holograph work I was doing for the artist James Turrell. When I finally graduated in 2012, I had a background in fine art and technology. I did a lot of software programming and robotics and things like that. And, so I was at a crossroads again. A friend of mine down here told me that they were building a science museum, so I applied.
What part of working at the Frost Museum was humbling?
If you’re building a museum from ground up, you have the board and older members who have a vision that needs to get created. They probably aren’t just going to hand the vision over to a 30 year old. So, that was very humbling. It was a incredible lesson in teamwork, collaboration, and mainly in humility.
What types of creative expression are you working on now?
Two years ago I started getting back to just more of a craft space. I started making wood toys for Auggie, not to sell or anything. I have a little wood shop here and I do carving. Last year I made a set of gnomes, because her favorite book is a Gnome book. I also own a vacation rental in Little Havana that has three units. So that’s sort of like a constant creative endeavor.
Did you fix it up yourself?
Yes, I bought it a year before I left the museum. It is very charming. It has a lot of soul and it’s a historic building. Little by little, I’m making it something that I would want to see in terms of authentic culture in Little Havana.
It sounds like you’ve created a wonderland for Auggie. Would you share about your approach to parenting?
My approach intellectually, which of course is always completely different than how it pans out emotionally and actually, was how I do most things, which is give it my all. I had the fortunate opportunity to devote myself to parenthood. But it turns out, doing that might be doing yourself a disservice. Just focusing on your kid, you can lose yourself. It’s been navigating that and cultivating a little human. And, I’m learning all these lessons I didn’t think I would learn, like how to build a community independently.
I learned a new term called Matrescence, which is similar to puberty, but it’s the term of a woman becoming a mother and that phase of life and how it’s the most epic, hormonal, emotional and physiological shift in your lifetime. As a woman, now as a mother, you’re changing into a completely different person at this phase in life. That’s definitely what it feels like to me.
How did you discover LNB Grovestand?
One day after we moved to the Redland, a friend who knew that I have a lot of close farmer friends asked – ‘do you know LNB Groves?’ I had not been to the Pinecrest market, but I found you on Instagram, and then saw that you had your pop-up in Kendall. You’re just about 12 minutes from us. I love what you guys do. I love the videos on Instagram. Every time I try something of yours, I’m like, it would never occur to me to have this thing, but now that I’ve had it, I can’t not have it again. Like the idea of a Turmeric Heart. If I hear about it, I’m not running to get a Turmeric Heart. But now, I’m definitely running to get more of them. And now the Turmeric bagels, and now the Turmeric concentrate! I’m in your big fan club here.
What can we do better?
Oh, man. Every once in a while I’ll find somewhere that I’m stoked on. Maybe, because I didn’t find you guys too long ago, I’m still super stoked. Honestly you’re one of the people that excite me in terms of doing something that really creates community. It does a service to everyone else by doing what you’re doing. I’m a critical person by nature, but I don’t have anything. Give me a couple more months.
What other local places have you found that you’re stoked on?
Going Bananas. If you’re a farmer down here, you know them. I went there in the middle of the pandemic. They weren’t actually open, but I ended up getting a hold of them and it was only a tiny order of three plants. I ended up chatting with her and the level of which she interacted with me and shared her knowledge and her passion for what they do was a stoke, the same as you guys.
Also – Recently I went to a place that’s very weird. A small farm down here provides them with their produce. It’s a food truck called Sunday. I was just blown away by his inventiveness. It’s a vegan food truck. But he creates these menus that I’ve never seen down here in South Florida that have a global cultural influence. He’s now up at space park, somewhere in Wynwood.
And, The Fruit and Spice Park. I go there with Auggie once a week. It has the magic of when I was a kid and watched Willy Wonka. It’s the idea of going to a place where you can eat off your surroundings and find all of these flavors that you’ve never had before. It’s a super awesome place.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
Someone said this and it definitely was forever Jimbo’s. But, I recently went to Cauley Square. It had been on my radar for years, but I never went. It was full of people. There’s a tea room there and my jaw dropped, like ‘what is this place? How does this exist here?’ It is a legitimate tea room, like a British style tea room in terms of the menu, but it’s wrapped in the guise of kitschy Old Florida with a thrift store vibe.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
Definitely a Rainbow smoothie and doing a weekly LNB Grovestand run for sure. And, travel. But, I don’t even consider travel a splurge. I think that’s more of a critical thing, and I’ve been feeling the lack of it the past couple of years.
Are there any community events or groups that you would like to promote or share?
One just passed, Little River had their annual plant sale last weekend. There are other people down here like Aloha Redland that is always doing awesome programming. I imagine with the season starting up and the weather getting nice, there’ll be a lot more stuff happening down here locally. Also, Castellow Hammock park is starting a toddler nature program and I think they’re doing a Halloween night. They also do night walks through the hammock.
Is there a question that you would like to ask us?
(AK) Is the drive through space where you make everything? Is that also your prep kitchen?
(A+W) Yes. It was a bakery that made special occasion cakes. We took over the space and kept all of the equipment. That’s how we were able to introduce Turmeric Heart cookies and Bagels.
Is there a challenge, words of advice, or a question that you would like to pose to the community?
I would like to challenge Miami to keep experimenting with ways to create community in a meaningful, sustaining way.