845-252-6650 debra@debracortese.com

Wine, Food and Art pairing (South Florida)

photo: Schnebly Winery
Just read the latest Schnebly Winery newsletter and they’ve included an article on the annual “Dinners in Paradise” at Gabrielle Marewski’s Paradise Farms. This is a lovely, local, organic farm that’s renowned among top Miami chefs for providing the best in microgreens, heirloom tomatoes, herbs, edible flowers and more.

This season Paradise Farms is donating 16 Ready to Grow garden beds to 16 public schools through The Education Fund for their Plant a Thousand Gardens Collaborative Nutrition Initiative.

photo: Paradise Farms/Miami Victory Gardens

Schnebly Winery provided the dry Avocado Wine and their signature Category 3 Hurricane Vino for the Common Roots art exhibition that I co-curated with Arts At St Johns and I’m a definite fan of the Avocado Wine… surprisingly similar to a delicate chablis!

Paradise Farms is normally a private space, but during the “Dinners In Paradise”, you have the opportunity to come in, take a tour, enjoy a delicious meal and help a charity all at the same time!


It all relates. My art and custom designs are all about sharing the magic of nature’s energy. We are what we eat, drink and believe. There’s magic, memories, and balance in growing a garden, harvesting your very own vegetables and fruits and then preparing them and ideally, sharing a meal with friends and family. Bonus: here’s my Zingy Mango Salsa recipe!

Info for Gift Guides – Trend setting Bags for Nature Lovers

Cortese Design bags are more than fashionable, they can energize you! Designer, Debra Cortese says, “When you carry one of my Nature’s Energy Design bags, and consciously tune in to the vibration of the plant that is at the core of the design, you can virtually ‘feel’ the positive, magical energy of nature.” She explains that every element of nature emits a unique vibration or energy field. When you are in nature and truly focusing your attention of a flower, (how the light plays on the petals, the gentle swaying in a breeze, the interaction of a tiny, hovering bee coating his little bee legs in pollen) you’re able to connect with the vibration of that flower, that bee, and that moment in time. This is an excellent, natural way to enhance, stimulate or soothe your own energy.

The Design Process

Cortese Designs are a visual transference of Nature’s Energy. Debra tells us “The design for each bag is intentionally created to share the energy that I experience when I am tuning in to a particular plant or flower. I begin by photgraphing a plant that is emitting positive vibrations. (Poison Ivy would not be a plant I’d choose for sharing any energy!) Next, I choose one of the photos that visually shares the strongest sense of that energy and use it as the basis for my design. I then go into the flow of the creative process, and using a range of digital painting tools and a sequence of custom techniques, I work the image until I achieve a visual presentation that most effectively transfers the vibrational energy of that plant, flower, creature or environment.”

Cortese Design Bags are available online at: www.debracortese.com, and at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida where they sell an exclusive, custom designed line of Cortese bags.

Custom Designs for Businesses, Organizations, Fundraisers
Debra’s focus is on growing the Cortese line with additional fashion and home decor products and through licensing her designs with businesses and organizations that share a vision to increase awareness of our magical environment. She enjoys creating custom designs and collaborating on projects that promote positive, joyful vibrations in the world, and is particularly fond of projects that benefit the environment, animals and children.

Bag images and links at: https://www.debracortese.com/CorteseDesigns_PR_GiftGuides.html

photo: Paul Andre Photography
model: Diane Mooney

Cortese Design Bags at New York Fashion Week event

“White Orchids Swaying Ferns” (shown above), “Blue Tango” and “Fuschia” Tote Bags by Cortese Designs are partying in New York at the Inc Lounge in the Time Hotel on West 49th Street. They’re part of the “Untapped Fashion & Music – NYC 09” event which happens tonight between 8 to 11 pm.
After that, they are off to a NY after-party at Greenhouse. (Lucky bags!)
I’m physically here in Miami, but my inner designer is definitely right there in New York via the three tote bags that bear my name. For this event, editors from local & national press (hopefully all of the following): OceanDriveTime Out New YorkMiami HeraldPeople MagazineUS WeeklyW Magazine, VOGUEGlamourLucky MagazineNew York PostVillage VoiceWWD) get to view collections from many designers, while listening to music from unsigned & talented musicians. The fashion designers’ creations will be showcased on models strutting around the lounge. The event is sponsored by Eric and Luck, Sagatiba, and Starlite Shoes & Accessories. Celebrity guests will be in attendance including Isaac Mizrahi, Real Housewives of New York and New Jersey, MTV’s Real World contestants, America’s Next Top Model contestants, Malan Breton of Project Runway, Kristen Dalton – Miss USA.
Designers showcased will include: Aqua Vi, Gia Fragalli, Chak Chel, Debra Cortese, Peony by Sheerly Novian, and many others.
Once again, Jordana Engholm of Jordana PR has gone above and beyond the usual to create this innovative, intimate club event to promote the work of emerging fashion designers and musicians.

Art, Fashion, Music, Fire Dancing at Epic River Lounge


Miami River to Bay view from Epic Hotel - photo: Debra Cortese

Miami River to Bay view from Epic Hotel - photo: Debra Cortese


Tomorrow night from 6 to 11 pm join Miami artists, fashion designers, gallerists, and fellow art lovers at the River Lounge at Epic. River Lounge, right on the north shore of the Miami River faces the historic Miami Circle, overlooks the Brickell drawbridge and offers an exclusive closeup view of the river to the bay.

There’s still time to RSVP at Life Is Art Creative Connections River of Art Showcase.

I’ll be showing my line of Cortese Design Bags along with Vanessa da Rocha Swimwear, Adriana Pitic’s line of clothing, Fashion View Miami Cindy Jimenez’s Recyled Jewelry, and Brown Betty Hair Pieces!

Miami Artists, Carla Fache, Carson Case, Ross Ford, and R.E. SANCHEZ will also be there showing their work…

AND, that’s not all. James Echols and Annette Pikert of Life is Art have not only connected all of these fashion designers and artists for this unique, one night event at the chic River Lounge at Epic (270 Biscayne Boulevard Way overlooking the bay in downtown Miami)…There is also Music by DJ Soozin with a special surprise guest!?!…Live performances by Jillian the Fire Dancer and Nestor on the drums…and a complimentary cocktail with your RSVP here!

Make that reservation now while this link is right in front of you and be sure to say hello and drop your card in the “Win A Cortese Design ~ Bag of the Month Giveaway!”

Winner will be notified by email and/or phone and published on this blog, ideally with a photo of you and your new bag! 

Looking south to Brickell from Epic Hotel - photo: Debra Cortese

Looking south to Brickell from Epic Hotel - photo: Debra Cortese

River Lounge is graciously donating a complimentary drink to everyone on the RSVP list.
They are also donating a portion of the proceeds to Life Is Art! This is much needed
revenue to help us continue to promote the Miami arts community. Be sure to say thanks to
the proprietor, Bobby Brandt, for all his support. We hope that you will come out and
bring ALL your friends so that we can make this a regular event!

The event is completely free, though contributions are gratefully accepted. Your support
helps Life Is Art/Creative Connections continue to help the arts community.

We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to expand your network and help
advance your artistic career. Full details and make your reservation here!

River Lounge review at thrillist.com

Cortese Design Bags
Debra Cortese Art and Designs for Licensing
Debra Cortese
contact me at: debra@debracortese.com