Blue Mercury, Ch'i, Chill-N, Get Smart, Jerry Greenberg, KiwiCo, Miami Water Keeper, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, Stubborn Seed, Whip'n Dip.
In what part of town do you live?
We live in Coral Gables.
How long have you lived in the area?
Six years now in the Gables. I grew up in South Miami. I’ve lived in Pinecrest, Kendall, and pretty much all over Miami.
Did you always think you’d stay in Miami?
I did. I have lots of family here and I love the water. So, I’ve always wanted to be here.
Would you share a little about what keeps you busy during the week?
Since COVID, I’ve been homeschooling my two daughters, Shayna and Jocelyn, who are seven and nine. They keep me pretty busy. We like to get out and explore a lot. We’ve taken field trips to the Everglades, out on the boat, to Sanibel and Key West. It’s been a really interesting year.
I know you grew up with a special appreciation of the ocean. Would you share about your family’s ties to the water?
My grandfather, Jerry Greenberg, passed during the summer of 2020. He was a photographer for National Geographic and many other magazines. He helped establish Pennekamp park as a Marine sanctuary and was a totally inspiring character. He started his own publishing company, teaching people to use his underwater housings for cameras that he manufactured himself. There were no suitable underwater cameras for him at the time. He was diving until he was 94 years old, lived down in the Keys, and really loved interacting with people interested in the water.
His wife, my grandmother, was the artist and she did true to life drawings of fish, marine invertebrates, and birds all over the world. She used the drawings to make plastic identification cards so that you can bring them under water. It has been a hard summer losing my grandfather, but I think that he would be very happy if he knew that people were continuing to enjoy the places that he enjoyed himself. And, he taught my daughters really to enjoy and be adventurous in the water.
What did he teach you?
He taught me so much. He taught me integrity and business. He taught me to have a sense of humor. Don’t be too sensitive and to be there for the people you love.
How did you come to the decision to homeschool?
Before COVID, I was working with children as a reading interventionist and tutor. Closing out the previous school year with virtual online classes, I knew that I did not want to go into that again.
What have you learned about homeschooling?
I learned to be very flexible and patient. I was used to working with one student at a time and working with two at different learning levels has been a challenge sometimes, but also really great. The girls can teach each other a lot and they teach me their best style of learning too, because everyone learns differently.
Is Jacob helping you with homeschooling?
It’s primarily my role, but he is the PE coach and sometimes the nutrition teacher.
What resources have you found that you might recommend for other parents interested in homeschooling?
Miami has a fantastic teacher supply store called Get Smart that is down by the falls. I can’t say enough good things about them. The girls are so inspired by all their toys and resources. There’s a website called K through 5 learning that I’ve found very useful. And, KiwiCo offers great monthly STEAM activities.
Next year, will you homeschool again or something else?
No. Next year, I’m back to work.
Do you have something in mind?
Good question. Either working with kids, which I love, or back into hospitality with my husband.
When did you work together in hospitality?
I met my husband when I was a hostess at Dan Marino’s in South Miami.
You have been visiting us at the drive through since we opened in March. What is the experience like for you?
We just love coming and visiting you and your products are amazing. Jocelyn really looks forward to the experience every week. Sometimes she gets her daddy daughter time, and sometimes we come all together. I always look forward to the Rainbow Smoothies, the Turmeric Bagels, and the cookies at the end of every month. I was happily surprised you had Mulberry jam because I’ve been trying to recreate a recipe. It is just ricotta toast with mulberry jam, some pine nuts, and a little lemon zest.
What other stores or businesses are you guys regularly going to that you might recommend?
We have been really in our bubble. Since Jacob started working with Grove Bay hospitality we have been to a lot of their restaurants and they are really great and family friendly. We are always up for trying some ice cream…so Whip and Dip or the Chill-N in South Miami.
Where would you all go for a special occasion?
Recently we went to Stubborn Seed on Miami beach, which was so fantastic.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
It used to be the secret tree house, south of Matheson, but it’s gone. Miami’s second-best kept secret is the mountain bike trail on Virginia Key.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
I think something for myself, like skincare. There is a place called Blue Mercury in Cocowalk that has Indie Lee, which is natural skincare.
What do you do when it is raining out?
We love to do art projects. Art can be therapy. Making art, wherever you are, out of anything can be healing. I am always drawing sketching, doodling. A little piece of art is still art and in five minutes, you can make something beautiful.
What community groups or philanthropic groups are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
Miami Waterkeeper is a fabulous group. They have a bunch of programs like the ‘Thousand eyes on the water program.’ They are great with litigation and making sure our water is clean around Miami and Broward. I also like Pelican Harbor Seabird Station. We have sent a few birds over there and they track them and give us status updates.
Is there a pitch about anything that you would like to share?
My husband, Jacob, is working on a new concept in Brickell City Center called Ch’i. It’s an Asian and Latino fusion restaurant, with a Mercado sandwich and small bites place on the side. The Mercado is set to open June 14th. It’s a gorgeous Asian inspired space. There’s flowers all over the walls, beautiful lighting fixtures, and there’s a hidden arcade.
What question would you like to ask us?
(NL) How do you make the heart shaped cookies?
(A+W) The hearts were totally serendipitous. We bought a big cookie making machine on eBay, and when we went to make the first batch of cookies, they came out like hearts! It turned out the machine had two dies, one with big circles (for ice cream sandwich sized cookies), and one with hearts. Since our turmeric cookies are red on the inside, the shape was a lucky bonus.
(NL) Well, they make the last week of the month much more special!
Is there a question, challenge, or words of advice that you would like to pose to the community?
Always look around, always look in the water. There’s something amazing everywhere.
Thank you so much. Any final thoughts?
I have gratitude for being alive, living through COVID, having family close by, and taking advantage of everything we’re given.