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Inspiring Stories from Coral Gables

The heart of our mission at VoyageMIA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Miami’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out inspiring stories from Coral Gables below.

Omar F. Cordero

Former Banker who followed his passion and dreams of fitness to help all walks of life live a healthier more vibrant lifestyle. Very hard process. Probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Leaving a six figure salary and solid banking position to follow the passion to help others. During the transition, it placed many challenges in the household and family as well long nights, very little sleep of just pure hard work to build a successful operation while almost everyone said it could not be done. Read more>>

Ellie Martinez

I was a Makeup Artist for many years having worked for many great productions and photo shoots. I decided to take things to another level and go back to school for Skin care. Once I obtained my Esthetician license I was hired by a very well-known Brow Studio and makeup line called Anastasia Beverly Hills. Fast forward to today I am an Eyebrow Shaping expert. Almost 5 years of experience in solely brows, I know that no one size fits all and that each and every face has its unique structure and I customize the perfect shape for each of my clients every time. Read more>>

Sandra Balzola and Alfredo Valentine

Sandra Balzola (aka Red Sand) – started off with Photography in High School at 15. Quickly taking to and learning the ins and out of film photography and dark room developing. She continued studying photography throughout the years and in 2010 eventually went into business on her own. In 2014 the business was re-branded to Red Sand Studios after constantly being referred to as “Red”. Read more>>

Nicole Braghin and Arianna Grijalba

I, Nicole, started 12 years ago. My family always entertained in Brasil and Punta del Este. My mother and grandmother always set the table and did decorations no matter how simple a meal. I love the pressure and the freedom in conceptualizing ideas and bringing moments to life. Arianna, studied culinary arts and hospitality and also always loved to entertain. Her attention to detail and perfection hooked her in the events industry where she started after her masters. Read more>>

Tess and Faress Hattar

My love affair with dogs began as a young child, but it was not until 2011 that I began to work with them in a professional setting as a grooming assistant in a local salon while simultaneously attending university. I admired the groomers and their ability to make every dog look and feel their best, and looked forward to seeing “my dogs” at work 5 days a week after school. Read more>>

Christine Martinez

Avant Garde Salon & Spa is located in the heart of Coral Gables for 40 years. Avant-Garde prides itself on being the best salon for hair and Spa services. The salon was established in 1976. In a very short time, this little salon became very successful and well known in Miami, but we reach clients as far as Fort Lauderdale, west palm beach, etc. In 2010, Avant-Garde Salon & Spa was purchased by a French visionary who previously owned and managed a high-end spa in Cannes on the French Riviera, starting a new era in the salon’s successful history with the “French flair and glamour”. Read more>>

Miriam Aguiar

I started working with corporate events. It all happened when I worked for an Austrian investment fund, I was the director’s Executive Assistant and they needed someone to take care of their events department, so it all started there. After that I worked for companies like Diageo (São Pauli/Brazil) & Maersk Group, here in Miami. After two years working for Maersk I realized that events was really a passion and that I could do a lot more, so I decided to open my own event planning company. Read more>>

Cristian Anderson

I pretend to be a triathlete by racing here and there, but I am not near the level of our athletes and being a soccer player is my excuse when asked about my very slow triathlon splits. As Vice President of MultiRace, LLC and a USAT Certified Race Director, he is involved in managing key departments such as research development, national/global event directing and business planning. Read more>>

Samia Ghazal and Nelsi Paris

We had known each other for over 18 years and never before spoke about doing business together. Nelsi and I met when I owned a restaurant and she was a client, years later Nelsi opened a spa and I became her client. She has been in the beauty field as an esthetician for over 16 years as well as working with doctors that provide related services. I had worked in management for over 18 years and always a fashion aficionado. Read more>>

Lenny Kagan

I am a 360º VR content Producer from Miami, FL. I graduated from Gilman School in Baltimore, MD in 1994, and from the University of Miami in 1998 where I earned a degree in Communications. My Mother Ann Kathryn Kagan is an Artist and my Father Leonard Kagan was a world-renowned architect and designer. My uncle Neil Kagan is a photographer and author and my cousin Lisa Kagan is an artist as well specializing in family tree illustrations. Read more>>

Stella Giraldella

Chef Stella Giraldella grew up in a Brazilian family where she learned at an early age that quality food was an essential ingredient to good living. As a child, she watched her grandmother prepare culinary masterpieces from scratch. Her grandmother was an avid traveler and instilled in Stella the importance of experiencing diverse cuisines from around the globe. Read more>>

Tomás Rodríguez

Tomás began his practice of yoga and meditation in 1991 at age 17 when he met his spiritual teacher or Guru, the impact of this meeting was so powerful that from then on, he committed himself to the study of the Tantric Yoga philosophy and to the practices of meditation, yoga, selfless service, mantra and contemplation. Through the years of daily practice and then in his experience of living for six years in ashrams of New York and India, he deepened the inner experience as well as his understanding and practice of the ancient art of yoga. Read more>>

Robert Fernandez

The company was founded in 1978 by political refugees who had a vision to sell quality floor covering to those living in the South Florida Area for both residential and commercial applications. They initiated with carpet & vinyl and throughout the years expanded into other materials such as laminate flooring, wood flooring, rubber flooring (mainly for gyms & commercial areas). Read more>>

Rosy Figueroa

I ‘am the Lead Photographer and owner of Photos by Rosy. I am also a Notary Public in and for the State of Florida, and a Wedding Officiant. Photos by Rosy started In July 2011. As of today, I performed and photo shoot over 300 different types of weddings. I have work for Blue Martini/Black Book Magazine in New York, Ocean Home Magazine, Brooklyn Brewery, Baptist Hospital, and others… I have also work for Goldstar GPS a large marketing company in Tenn. Read more>>

When I moved to Miami from France I was shocked to learn that Aqua Fitness & Aqua Biking were not a prevalent method of working out. In France, people of all ages, from senior citizens to various sport specific youths and triathletes participate in aqua sports. As an avid aqua fitness enthusiast, I wanted to open a business in which all individuals could learn and experience all the benefits of exercising in the water. Read more>>

Sandra Weir

The concept behind the salon, created by Sandra Weir, is one derived of necessity. As a businesswoman, Weir made every effort to be well-groomed for her job, but it wasn’t until her teenage daughter started to frequent nail salons and suffered from dry, brittle nails as a result, that Weir took an interest in salons’ beauty product ingredients. Lotions, nail polishes, scrubs—each seemed to be comprised of harmful chemicals and toxins. Weir sought out salons with natural alternatives, but found these were non-existent in Miami. The lack of organic and healthier options prompted Weir to take matters into her own hands, and GLOSS Nail Bar was born. Read more>>

Erik Lopez

Originally from New York, my grandfather Frank Lopez, a lapidary, moved to Miami Beach in the early 80’s and used my parents’ garage as his gemstone cutting work-space. I was able to watch him craft a faceted gem from rough material straight from the mine. And, in 1985 my mother, Gaye Luaces, began operating By Design Jewelers. Since the day we opened our first location I began to help out around the shop after school. After a while, I began apprenticing under our master jeweler and learned the technical aspects of crafting a piece of jewelry. Read more>>

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