The Empowerment Guru
When you meet Mahlia Lindquist, Executive Director of LEAP (Ladies Empowerment and Action Program) you quickly realize she is unstoppable. She has a BA in Economics from Emory University and a JD from Georgetown University and has worked in the criminal justice system and in a private practice. But she kept on searching for meaning, wanting to do more, help more, change more. One common trait in many of our Gurus is that they continuously challenge themselves. Mahlia arrived at LEAP through mentoring and she never left. Watch the full interview to see how this organization gives formerly incarcerated women a second chance and a community.
We first heard of Dragonfly Thrift Boutique in a New Times article rating it the best thrift store in South Florida. We had no idea this store was run by formerly incarcerated women who were trained by LEAP, a nonprofit that seeks to change the narrative for women who have experienced prison. Even Vice President Kamala Harris is a fan. When we visited the boutique we found hip retro clothing, curated 60s furniture and funky art pieces. All of the staff have served time in jail and they have been mentored and trained through LEAP programs. Dragonfly is always on the top 5 lists or thrift stores. Take your friend and kids shopping and support this amazing cause.
We always ask our Gurus to recommend places they love to visit. Mahlia Lindquist recommended two fun places she routinely visits on Calle 8 near her DragonFly Thrift Boutique. The first is Bar Nancy, opened by hospitality veterans Katie Rajsich and Ben Koufopoulos in 2017. Their place is known for its music, having live bands every night of the week. We showed up early on Saturday night and the locals were already taking advantage of the daily happy hour at this dark and cool nautical themed neighborhood bar. We ordered the refreshing “I do not know what I want” cocktail (vodka, mint, syrup, lemon juice, orange and angostura bitters) and left with the recipe and a container of Ben’s sugar cane simple syrup that he pressed in the back. We can’t wait to visit again.
Our second spot was Cafe La Trova owned by James Beard Recipient Michelle Bernstein. Order the fabulous jamon serrano croquetas, the delicious baccalao albondigas and one of the best lechon sandwiches in the city. But you are here for the Trova music and the best show is at the bar run by Maestro Cantinero Julio Cabrera. He just won for the second consecutive year North America’s 50th Best Bars Awards and was Roku Industry Icon in 2023. Order the famous Hotel Nacional (pineapple rum, pineapple juice, apricot liqueur, lime juice) or the Buenavista (gin, cucumber, mint, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and sugar). Bernstein has captured the essence of Cuba and with a loyal local following this is as authentic Miami as you get. Dress up and get ready to dance.
The final place we visited is Minty Z that has locations in Coconut Grove and in Midtown. This fresh, delicious, vegan plant based bistro has great salads, pineapple fried rice, curry noodles and dim sum with bao buns, potstickers, and gyozas. They have a bottomless brunch with pitchers of Mimosas, Sangria and Lychee Martinis for $25 per person on Saturdays and Sundays. Visit during Miami Spice and you can have a 6 course lunch tasting menu for $35 or an 8 or 10 course dinner tasting menus for $45 and $60.
Click the link to find out about what happened when Vice President Kamala Harris visited Dragonfly Thrift Boutique and hear why Mahlia came back from Boulder to Miami.