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Thursday, March 23, 2017

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToDC - A Personal Reflection


Earlier tonight, while I was savoring the deliciousness of Miami River newcomer Dashi, a friend asked me about yesterday's Washington D.C. travel diary. Specifically, he wanted to know why I felt such a strong sense of patriotism considering that I only recently became a U.S. citizen and that, thanks to my middle class Mexican upbringing, the U.S. didn't exactly represent salvation from war, famine or drought. As a red-blooded American, he connected with my excitement over visiting the "gathering spaces that have witnessed our government behind the scenes for over a century". And, after reading my post, he was curious to understand how a foreign-born person like me could channel the undying love he has for his country and its history so perfectly.

Fueled by a delicious lychee/raspberry cocktail, my response to his question was mostly stream-of-consciousness—no overthinking, no hesitation, no calculation. Somehow it was spot on. I think it's because for the last 10 years since I received my green card and more so since I applied for citizenship, I have been on an on-going quest to define my identity as it relates to my nationality. I have been struggling to reconcile my decision to surrender my Mexican citizenship in exchange for an American one and trying to define my connection to this country for most of my life. Even now, two years after leading a group of 40 in the Oath of Allegiance during my naturalization ceremony, I still struggle between the desire to preserve my Mexican identity (my chilanga accent, my family's cultural traditions) and the desire to fully embrace my American pride.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToDC - Weekend in D.C. Travel Diary


If you have never traveled to Washington D.C., you need to go. Our nation's capital is electrifying—the crisp air, the blooming cherry blossoms, the ever-present policy banter. I love it all.

Maybe its the city's role in the American story. There is a palpabale energy everywhere you go, a faint echo of the decisions that have shaped our country that demands to be heard. I felt it most prominently as I walked through the hallowed basement of the Russell Senate Office building, passing past the Senate Barber Shop, cafeteria, and other gathering spaces that have witnessed our government behind the scenes for over a century.
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for our Natural Resources - Biscayne Bay


"Biscayne Bay is one of Miami's most underrated assets." That's what we boldly proclaimed during our recent story about exploring Miami's top snorkeling spots, and we're sticking to it. In fact, we're of the opinion that we don't just under appreciate Biscayne Bay, but that we also know very little about its fascinating history. It took a California-based fish taco chain, Rubio's Coastal Grill, to make us realize we don't know what we don't know about the beautiful marine asset in our backyard.
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Saturday, March 11, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Exploring Top Miami Snorkeling Spots with AdventureLinks


Two weeks ago, on a beautiful day like today, our contributor Celeste explored one of Miami's top snorkeling spots with AdventureLinks and members of the South Florida Bloggers community. It was an opportunity to kayak and snorkel in Biscayne Bay that, as a marine scientist and adventurer, I had a very difficult time delegating. Nevertheless my work takes precedence and, on that sunny Sunday, duty called. To add insult to injury, as I worked, I received a steady stream of stunning pics from Celeste featuring the bay's crystal blue waters and bright red and yellow kayaks patiently waiting (for me) on its shores.

"It was so much fun!," she texted once she was back on land. "It was the perfect day for a kayak trip, with low tide and clear water—basically the Bahamas in Miami. We saw tons of fish and a huge conch." Celeste used to work for Project Baseline, a grassroots environmental conservation initiative, testing water quality and tracking changes of the fossil reef at Key Biscayne over time. She couldn't contain her excitement that AdventureLinks recognizes it as a great place to snorkel in Miami and is educating people about it. "It's definitely one of my favorite local snorkeling spots," she concluded.


Celeste's photos from that day gave me major FOMO when I received them and are giving me major FOMO as I revisit them to write this post. And don't even get me started on the GoPro video... I mean, look at that warm sunshine, the clarity of the water, and the lush seagrass beds they kayak over.   I seriously can't even. It brings me back to marine biology field trips when I was a student at the University of Miami.

Biscayne Bay is one of Miami's most underrated assets. It is huge; it is teaming with resources; its ripe for exploring; and it is in our very own backyard. You and I have zero excuse not to make the most of it, to go paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling the every time it's 80-degrees with clear skies. AdventureLinks's 20-year insider know-how and their accessible launch location at Crandon Park Marina made Celeste's day on the water easy and fun. (P.S. If you have kids ages 7-17, they have a locally recognized summer camp program with a ton of outdoor activities and environmental education surrounding Biscayne Bay. You get 10% off registration with code "THANKYOU".)

You're welcome, Miami. And see you in the water!

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Friday, March 3, 2017

#ThankYouMiami For A New And Improved Toro Toro Miami


This month we have been traveling like crazy, first to Hutchinson Island, then to Seattle and now to D.C. We've spent more time out of Miami than in Miami, making it particularly hard to keep a pulse on what is going on back home. It's times like these we're extremely grateful for our contributors. In today's post, contributor Belen of A Hint of Life blog talks about the Toro Toro Miami relaunch party she attended on our behalf two weeks ago and their delicious (and spicy!) new signature drink.

On Tuesday night, after the long President's Day weekend, I headed to Toro Toro Miami's re-launch party in Downtown Miami's Intercontinental Hotel. Although I had been to the Intercontinental, Toro Toro had never been a part of my experience and, to my surprise, the restaurant turned out to be a harmonious combination of contrasting concepts. The Intercontinental is gigantic so Toro Toro is cozy by comparison, but its atmosphere is big and loud (à la Latin America). It's fine dining menu and luxurious setting exude an air of exclusivity while remaining approachable.
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