Events & Festivals

Five Tips for Your Perfect Miami Spring Wedding

With its optimal weather and blooming flora, spring is the ideal season for nuptials in Miami. To ensure that your big day goes off without a hitch, consider hiring event planners like Twenty Three Layers. Touted as a team of top-notch Miami event planners, Twenty Three Layers breathes simplicity and peace of mind into event planning. The company also has locations offering event planning services in Los Angeles and New York. With its industry knowledge and connections, it handles the most important details of your big day with great ease. 

1. Plan a Seasonal Menu

Cocktails and appetizers and desserts, oh my! With so many beverage and food options to choose from, it can prove difficult to develop a flawless menu. For spring weddings, refreshing spritzers and watermelon martinis are huge hits, especially in balmy Miami, Florida weather. Equally delectable are charcuterie boards, honey-glazed scallops, and macaroons. To guarantee that all palate preferences are catered to, hire a professional to cover all the bases. 

2. Take Advantage of More Flower Options

With seemingly every flower in bloom in spring, it can be hard to whittle down your options. From tulips and daffodils to peonies and lilacs, there’s no shortage of blooms to choose from. What’s more, you want to be sure that the flowers you select complement your color scheme and overall aesthetic. With that said, having an extra pair of eyes will help you achieve your desired look. Most importantly, it’s likely your event planner knows a florist who will make the flower curation process a breeze. 

3. Prepare for Weather Changes

With its fickle nature, the weather is often the top stressor on wedding days. For the sake of keeping you, your soon-to-be spouse, and your guests comfortable, it’s essential to have a backup plan if rain decides to rear its ugly head. Weddings already come with so many moving parts, and you shouldn’t be responsible for overseeing a last-minute mishap. With assistance from Miami event planners, you can rest assured that all eleventh-hour decisions will be expertly executed. 

4. Play with Casual Attire or Dress Up in Lighter Fabrics

Perhaps the most crucial detail of the day is what you’ll be wearing. The beauty of spring is that it allows for all hues, fabrics, and styles. The downfall of spring is that its fashion flexibility can cause wedding attire mayhem. For expert advice on how to choose the appropriate outfits, trust the help of professional party planners. Not only will their assistance make you feel more confident in your decision, but it’ll also take the stress out of establishing a dress code. 

5. Curate the Perfect Guest List

Being practical while creating a guest list is no easy task. In addition to being fair, you also want to stay within your budget. When you can’t decide if your estranged aunt or questionable uncle should be in attendance, your event planner will be your voice of reason. The guest list is often a point of contention, so if you find yourself in a pickle, allow your trusted event planner to get you out of a guest list mess. 
Twenty Three Layers is an event design and production firm in Miami with locations in New York and Los Angeles, offering global event planning expertise. Its sister company Neon River Weddings specializes in destination wedding planning services.


My Favorite Florida Sandwiches

Benjamin Cory Harow knows that aside from the pristine beaches, world renown theme parks and gorgeous weather, Florida has an array of amazing food spots to satisfy cravings of locals and tourists alike. Some of the best delights can be found in the Sunshine State, whether it is the famous Cuban sandwich found all over, to the classic New York sub. Florida is a hub for amazing sandwiches, with every restaurant packing its own flavor and placing its own stamp on their product.

Right outside of Little Havana and a short trip from Miami International Airport, Versailles Cuban Cuisine is historically known as Miami’s most authentic Cuban restaurant. Here is where the staple Cuban sandwich is made, a combination of pernil (roasted pork shoulder), ham, Swiss Cheese, pickles and mustard between buttered and pressed Cuban bread. Served with a side of tostones (fried and mashed green plantains), this sandwich is a must have for any Miami visitor.

On the other side of the bay, along Miami’s South Beach, a French delicatessen with three shops in the city serves magnificent sandwiches with a European flavor. La Sandwicherie is known for its soft French bread sandwiches, including The Napoli, which includes fresh prosciutto and mozzarella. An added topping of the restaurant’s world famous vinaigrette is a must-have. This is one of Cory Harow’s favorite sandwiches.

About three and a half-hours away in Orlando, a creative sandwich shop with overnight hours catering to Downtown bar hoppers serves up wonders between bread. Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria has a plethora of good eats and out-of-the-box sandwiches. One of them being The Billy Chang which includes smoked brisket, blue cheese, strawberry jelly and red onions. With amazing funky sandwiches, Pom Pom’s keeps people coming back for new taste and unique flavors.

For those captivated by Latin cuisine, Orlando has a tight grasp on the food truck and counter sandwich shop business. With flavors ranging from Caribbean to South American, options are endless and the pride is felt in each bite. Close to Universal Studios, Chimiking hosts savory Dominican sandwiches, “Pierna de Cerdo” (Pork Leg), is a slow roasted pork sandwich topped with lettuce, tomato and onions and mayo ketchup, a sauce commonly used in Latin sandwiches that creates a sweet taste on top of the meat.

On the gulf coast of Florida, in Naples, a family owned sandwich shop brings the classic New York taste to the Sunshine state with Pastrami Dan’s open faced pastrami sandwiches. Similar to the delicatessen of the Big Apple, these meat loaded sandwiches come served on rye or roll, with the classic mustard and pickle on the side.

Another Naples classic with a New York feel is Napoli on the bay, an Italian restaurant and deli which has a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches, like the chicken parmesan or California sandwich. The name is self-explanatory, this restaurant is a short walk to the bay and is a great choice for those looking for a quick bite with a great view.


Healthy Dessert Recipes

So much has changed for so many, we need to make some corresponding changes in our eating and taking care of ourselves. With more time spent with family, we are told that this should make us happier. The family is all. When it is not so, that causes ill feelings. The time with others presents new problems that won’t go away often causing stress. These children, ours, or the spouse have mannerisms, ways that are bothering, or noise that can not be avoided. That is them. Stress abounds. Before we know it the stress is eating at us. To change our minds and think differently requires real grit. It is not easy.

Most of us need to have a sugar fix almost every day. Or our refrigerators are packed with energy drinks, sports drinks, caffeinated drinks. In addition, coffee is handy and our bodies need so much fluid. We see lots of advertisements for gymnasiums and diet systems. Suddenly the day is done and the exercise has been forgotten. We have tried most of the diets and found they did not work for us.

Helen Lee Schifter knows that It is hard to change habits. Doing without favorite foods is almost impossible. But, change is called for now. It is difficult to cut down on the serving of cake or ice cream. Try changing slowly. A little less at a time. Change one food and try one exercise. Let the mind and body feel the benefits of the change, and feeling better, then it is not so impossible to increase the good foods, to add some exercises. Maybe meditation can begin. The mind, when well and peaceful, makes us healthy.

It is important to stay well. That is easily said, but how does the body become well when we feel so miserable? Now is the time to meditate, let the mind rest, learn to turn away the negative and accept the positive. Helen Lee Schifter, who is a former arbitrage trader on Wall Street, talks of meditation and the tea ceremony to ease the mind, omit stress, and gain peace. She also talks of eating more vegetables and fruits.

Most raw and natural foods have sugars but our bodies utilize them more easily than processed sugar. Sugar actually takes more energy out of our bodies than is put in. The loss of energy causes the desire for more sugar to gain the energy back. The chemical structure of processed sugars is not good for our bodies.

A good cookbook for healthy foods, including healthy desserts, is an old Alaskan book titled, Cooking. Alaskan published by Alaska Magazine. It has a bunch of fruit desserts that are good and most of them are low on sugar, using the sugar in the fruits. There is an entire section for blueberry desserts, like Blueberry Delight and Blueberry Pie. Any fruit recipe is better, generally healthy and the sugar can be cut down or a sugar replacement can be used. Yogurt is better than ice cream and tastes as good.


My Favorite Dessert Treats

Those who are familiar with Judge Napolitano, as a serious judge for 8 years in the state of New Jersey Supreme Court, a Law Professor, the author of 9 books, and a legal analyst for Fox News. But even legal experts and former judges have their guilty pleasures and he is no different. Here are a few of his favorite desserts.


Like all Italians, the Judge favors Tiramisu as his favorite Italian Inspired dessert.

Tiramisu, also called Veneto, is probably all of Italy’s favorite desserts.

A robust layering of coffee-soaked sponge biscuits and a rich cream made of cheese, eggs, and sugar. The results produce a smooth and soft dessert

Sometimes described as the “final bite,” by Italian chefs, this dessert has become extremely popular in Italian restaurants all over the world. The name Tiramisu means

pick-me-up in Italian.

A relatively new dessert on the Italian scene, typically most amateur Chefs like the judge can whip up some Tiramisu in around 45 minutes

Bonet or Piedmont

A combination of eggs, milk, sugar, cocoa, and liqueur, (usually rum or Cognac) together with amaretto biscuits, this is a dessert that is best prepared at a restaurant as the preparation takes considerable skill, nevertheless, this is among Andrew Napolitano’s favorite desserts.


Cannolis, of Sicilian origin, are another treat although it is possible to make at home, they are most likely purchased at either a restaurant or a bakery.

Cannolis are tube-shaped pastry shells that are deep-fried and filled with a sweet and creamy filling.

Generally, Cannolis at most high-end bakeries are sold by the pound, not by an individual cannoli.

One word of caution about cannolis. If you eat the large ones, perhaps topped in caramel or chocolate chips, be easy on your diet otherwise as a large cannoli can contain as much as 440 calories.


The Judge loves this crumbly cake (the name actually means crumbly,) Lombardi is made by combining corn, white flour, almonds, and butter, together with sugar, eggs, and a hint of lemon.

This dessert goes terrific with sweet wine and should be broken up into small pieces before eating.

Pasticciotto Leccese

Another favorite on the Judge’s palate, and we can hardly blame him here is Pasticciotto leccese.

Originally made in Puglia Italy around 1745, this delicious dessert looks like apple pie on its surface, but it is decidedly different. It does have a soft, round, oval crust made mostly by combining butter, flour and egg yolks, it is the filling that is delicious.

Pasticciotto leccese on the inside is filled with cream cheese and egg filling and frequently spiced up with a dab of tart cherries.

One chef recounts that once you have tasted a warm Pasticcio straight out of the oven, it will be deeply imprinted into your taste buds and you will want it again and again.


Benefits of Drinking Tea

For many, the debate is usually coffee vs. tea. For those that swear by coffee, there is no comparison to how it benefits them. It is typically claimed to be the beverage needed to kickstart a morning and provide a needed boost to start the day or even give a jolt during the 3pm afternoon slump that often occurs just when someone needs to make it over the finish line to the end of a busy day. And for some, it is a way to close out an evening meal with dessert even if it means ordering decaffeinated so as not to disrupt sleep.

But for another large segment of the population, including Helen Lee Schifter, it’s all about the tea (and not the gossip kind). Tea has always seemed to be the “healthier” alternative to coffee. Tea drinking goes back thousands of centuries and its benefits have been studied throughout history. Though some coffee drinkers would argue it’s not true, Schifter believes tea has more health benefits than coffee. Certain types of tea can even be the magic cure to staving off some pretty devastating illnesses. For instance, in general tea has health benefits that include antioxidants, immune boosters ,less caffeine, ability to help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and even help with weight loss. Certain types of teas like green, white or black teas claim to be the purest of teas and offer benefits such as the unique antioxidants called flavonoids. These potent antioxidants may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

Unlike coffee, teas have herbal varieties and these too have been well researched in how they provide health benefits. Though these herbal teas do have less antioxidants in their makeup, they have been shown in some instances to help with weight loss, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep. Chamomile, a popular choice of herbal tea, may help prevent complications from diabetes and stunt the growth of cancer cells. Echinacea, though not completely conclusive, tends to be the go-to herbal tea that can help fight the common cold. Other herbal options like Hibiscus and Red tea also have been found to have some medicinal qualities but support for these is a bit more limited.

It is important to note that there are teas out on the market that claim to have health benefits but their claims are often unsubstantiated and can actually be more harmful than beneficial. For example, detox teas are extremely popular and well marketed claiming to aid in quick weight loss however these teas are laced with laxatives that can be very harmful. Fancy teas and lattes dressed up in local coffee chains are often loaded with sugar and lose all of their intended nutritional value.
Overall there are many studies that support the benefits of drinking tea. While some brews provide more health advantages than others, Helen Schifter thinks there’s plenty of evidence that suggests regularly drinking tea can have a lasting impact on overall wellness.