Why should a few excess pounds get in the way of true love? Thus thinks Elliot Weinstock, a former school teacher-turned-tutor and founder of the new club for stocky singles known as Full-Figured Friends. At 70 pounds overweight Weinstock, who describes his looks as "retired surfer," might feel like an outsider, but he actually is part of the majority. According to government statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1999-2002, Americans' increasingly sedentary lifestyle has led to 66 percent of the population being considered overweight, with 31 percent falling into the category of obese. But being part of a large (excuse the pun) group doesn't make it any easier to find friends. "It's hard to meet someone who is from the heart," Weinstock laments, adding that the South Floridians he has dealt with have often been defensive, suspicious, and superficial.
Weary of the nightclub scene, where he says most heavy people dare not tread, and still reluctant to try Internet dating, Weinstock dreamed up what he hopes will be a way to alleviate the plight of lonely South Floridians like him. Full-Figured Friends welcomes members of all ages who are carrying "ten extra pounds up to whatever. Everybody fits in." In an effort to get folks from Miami-Dade and Broward counties to join their ranks, the group will throw an inaugural social event tonight in Hollywood, from 8:00 to midnight at the Holiday Inn (2711 S. Ocean Dr.). For a mere 12 bucks, attendees will get a free drink, a buffet (that Weinstock assures with a laugh will be neither Atkins- nor South Beach Diet-friendly), and live music courtesy of a local combo, which might even lead to some dancing. And, of course, such close contact means there's always the chance for unforeseen connections to be made and romance to bloom. But even if nothing more than platonic relationships develop, that's okay with Weinstock too, who assures, "I'm not looking, just looking to make friends." -- Nina Korman
Mix Master's Muse
What you should know about cocktailing in vogue-ish bars is this: Ordering a stylish drink is as important as matching your Manolos with your Prada. Remember, sour-apple martinis are trs passé. A cosmo is as tired as the syndicated version of Sex and the City. A Tom Collins? Let's just say it's the fashion equivalent of a Sears double-knit polyester sports coat. Cocktails are couture, baby. If you're going to party with sophisticates, and you're a Long Island iced tea kind of gal, check out bartender and author Ben Reed. Having penned such books as Cool Cocktails and The Art of the Cocktail, Reed boasts mixology skills that are geared toward the avant-hip. As the season fast approaches, learn to say "Pom'tini," Reed's pomegranate concoction that is primed to be the fashion flavor of the near future. Reed not only will show you how to fix cool drinks, he'll teach you how to drink them, stylishly of course. Cocktail hour begins at 6:00 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave. Admission is free. Call 305-865-1100 ext. 216. -- Juan Carlos RodriguezLab Love
Meeting a breed's needs
Got a soft spot for those sad puppy-dog eyes that seem even more human than human eyes? Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida is seeking temporary homes for Labs. LRRoF receives Labs from shelters and tries to place the dogs with caretakers in order to avoid euthanasia. According to Jackie Carlton, the South Florida District coordinator for the LRRoF, there are 100 volunteers throughout Florida. The group accommodates up to 80 dogs at any given time. Because of the popularity of the breed and the thorough process involved in finding adequate permanent placements, Carlton says, there is a need for additional short-term housing. The organization also evaluates the tempers of its canine charges in order to match them with the right families. Labs that are four years old and younger tend to stay in foster care about two weeks. Like to volunteer? Visit them on the web at www.labradorrescue.net or call 305-389-3556. -- Alex TorresMakeover, Madness
Aging goth girl with makeup addiction, stop before your next trip to the make-up counter. Instead of a foundation fix, what you need is to fix your foundation, and then some. What you believe to be a perfectly pale hue actually makes you look ashy. That thing you do with eyeliner and mascara only verifies the rumors that you're batty. It's time to tone it down and check in with a beautician, girl. The folks at Sephora invite you to do the world a favor and explore a new look. They will be offering free makeovers utilizing the latest products from Hard Candy Cosmetics. You and your face could use some sweetness. At least it's a start. The makeovers commence at 11:00 a.m. at Sephora, Aventura Mall, 19575 Biscayne Blvd. Admission is free. Call 305-931-9579. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez