The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 24 - April 9, 2014


You'll lova Lava Lava tropical boutique

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story


Sarah Michel shows some of the colorful
tropical items available at Lava Lava.

When is the last time someone actually said to you they want to enhance your vacation experience? If the answer is never, you only need to go to Gulf Drive in Anna Maria where the owner says her products are designed with that exact goal in mind.

Last year Sarah Michel found herself relocated to Florida from California as a result of her husband’s job transfer. Using her native Hawaiian heritage, her experience designing sarongs and working in the fashion industry for 15 years, Michel thought Anna Maria Island was the perfect location for her new business. In November she opened Lava Lava Tropical Beachwear adding another burst of color to the north end of the Island.

Lava Lava means sarong in the native Hawaiian language and if it’s sarongs you’re looking for, Lava Lava is the place to go. There are dozens of beautiful sarongs created from hand painted fabrics imported from Indonesia and then designed in Hawaii. Sarah Michel frequently has input into the designs and can demonstrate three ways to wear a sarong.

But if sarongs aren’t your choice of beach cover-up you’ll have plenty of other colorful garments to choose from. Lava Lava’s beach cover-ups are so non- beachy they can be used as dresses or paired with pants for any occasion.

Lava Lava has so much packed into this boutique shop that you’ll have to search every corner to see it all. There are Hawaiian shirts for men, sun dresses, a large collection of hats from a San Diego designer, colorful scarves, sun glasses, some bathing suites, kukui leis and floral headbands.

There is also a nice collection of hand carved, crystal jewelry that glows and changes color. Michel likes to stock her shop with jewelry from local artists as well as small businesses on the west coast and in the West Indies.

Don’t forget to look for the coolest handbags made from recycled license plates as well as some of Sarah Michel’s paintings and photography that she has turned into greeting cards. You’ll find all price ranges at Lava Lava many of which are very affordable, and everything in the shop is hand-picked nothing is mass produced. Michel also is planning on adding body care products made from coconut oils to compliment the Hawaiian perfume she currently carries.

When people ask Michel what she sells she tells them, “I sell beauty.” Certainly her shop is beautiful and a feast for the eyes with all the beautiful tropical fabrics popping out against the dark lime walls.

If you want an enhanced vacation experience topped off with a one of a kind tropical sarong, stop by Lava Lava, a Hawaiian experience on Anna Maria Island.


Tropical Beachwear
The Sun Plaza
9801 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria
Monday – Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bridge Street Market
All major credit cards
accepted and PayPal


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Was tax season too taxing?

Investment Corner

With about one week left in the official 2013 tax filing season, most readers will have filed their returns by now, but some will have procrastinated until the last minute or perhaps even intend on filing an extension. Sometimes procrastination is driven by fear of the unknown – in this case, the potential to have to send Uncle Sam some additional tax dollars if you under-paid last year.

Unfortunately, other than a last minute deductible contribution to your IRA or other retirement plan, there isn’t a lot you can do to affect the outcome at this point. But, it’s a great time to consider strategies that can help position you over the remainder of 2014 that may help with next year’s tax bill.

For those employed or self-employed, contributing to a retirement plan as simple as an IRA or the 401K offered by your employer are awfully hard to beat as a savings vehicle, as well as the incentive to deduct contributions against income to reduce your tax bill. Traditional IRA contributions may not be deductible if you also participate in a plan sponsored by an employer. See IRS guidelines to determine deductibility.

For those who purchase their own health insurance, and for whom a high deductible health plan is appropriate, you can combine a Health Savings Account (HSA) with your health insurance plan. Contributions are capped presently at a bit over $6,000 per year, but contributions are tax deductible no matter what your income level or participation in retirement plans. The money in the HSA is not taxed when removed as long as it is used for qualifying healthcare expenses. These range from dental work to eyeglasses to full blown surgical procedures.

For investors who are using their accumulated nest egg to produce income, some types of investments offer tax advantages. Two weeks ago here in the Sun, I wrote about how municipal bonds were attractively priced compared to other types of fixed income investments. You can still read that article as the Sun’s website ( and look up the March 26 edition in the archives.

I won’t go into too much detail here other than to say that tax free- municipal bonds are currently yielding almost as much as taxable bonds of equivalent quality, but you don’t have to pay taxes on the income. It is definitely worth taking a look, especially for those in higher tax brackets.

Another income oriented investment I’ve written about before and which is worth mentioning here is Master Limited Partnerships (MLP’s). These partnerships are bought and sold just like stocks on the New York or NASDAQ exchanges. Typical distribution yields are in the 6 percent range, much of which is sheltered from tax due to the unique corporate structure of these vehicles and some corresponding IRS regulations.

Notice I didn’t say the income from MLP’s is tax-free. It is effectively tax delayed with little tax due now on the income when it is received, but with a corresponding reduction in cost basis in the units of the partnership you own. Translation – you pay capital gains tax when you sell the partnership units rather than ordinary income tax each year as the income is received. Since capital gains tax rates are lower than ordinary income tax rates, combining the lower rate and the delay in payment works out to be an effective tax friendly strategy.

Good luck with implementing your 2014 tax reduction strategy.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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