Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Immersing Yourself in Miami Art Week/Art Basel 2017 Like A Local

I can't believe another year of Miami Art Week is already upon us. It feels like only a few months ago we were perusing the long maze of art at the Miami Beach Convention Center and painting our own Bob Ross renditions at the Super 8 art giveaway in Wynwood. Alas, yesterday kicked off the week with its signature luxury parties and starting today, the fairs begin to open.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Fun Dating Options - The VIP Singles Club

Rumor has it Miami is a terrible place for single people. My girl friends say so. My guy friends say so. Heck, even this article says so. For a city with nearly 500,000 residents and 15.7 million visitors, you would think finding a partner would be like shooting fish in a barrel. However, based on the feedback I hear from all of you, if you're looking for love, Miami is not where you want to be.

Over the last two years, I have been conducting a pretty informal observational study of why I think Miami's dating scene leaves a lot of room for improvement. Rather than launch into the War and Peace-length tirade I know I am capable of, I plan to tell you the key to improving your chances at finding love—or at least have a good time looking for it. (That said, if you are interested in hearing my thesis over drinks, prepare your liver and then reach out to me. I've organized my thoughts into a coherent, albeit long argument with supporting evidence, statistics and the works.)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thank You Miami For Brunch - The Cabana Club at Nautilus Hotel

At times, we forget what a spectacle our city truly is. Right within the precincts of our backyards lies the kind of destinations we often travel to find. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, Miami Beach is a world-class destination often overlooked by its own people. As if refusing to be tourists in our own city, we leave many wonderful places unexplored.

The Nautilus Hotel on Collins Ave is one you’ve probably heard about during Swim Week and other weekends alike, but probably wouldn’t think of visiting on any unassuming Sunday morning. Because, let’s face it, hanging out in hotel lobbies are activities all-night club goers indulge in. Right?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Giving Back On Give Miami Day 2017

Open up your wallets, folks - it's time to give back to our beautiful community! Starting tonight at midnight, Give Miami Day is back. That means 24 hours of donating to your favorite local non-profits, knowing that prizes and matching contributions will multiply the impact of your donation to toward the issues you care about.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Themed Weeks - Live Arts Month

In Miami, a new month means a new theme. November is Live Arts Month and it couldn't have arrived at a better time. Until last month, it had been a few years since I had watched a live performance. Thievery Corporation's visit to the Fillmore Miami Beach in early October was the perfect reason to come out of my cultural hibernation. (Their 2010 concert with Massive Attack at Bayfront Park is hands down my favorite concert I have seen in Miami and I knew they would put on another fire show.) Since their show, I've been on a live arts kick: theater, live music, art shows, you name it.

Without knowing it was Live Arts Month, I have seen some really incredible performances that I am grateful Miami has brought to our sunny shores. These are the three I recommend most highly, with additional quality works to consider listed on our Miami Events page:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Staying Fit With Your Pet

As winter approaches, it is our duty as Miami-ans to find new, innovative ways to stay fit. After all, its almost a requirement for residency to maintain a bikini body year-round. The good news is that the weather cooled down this week, finally making it pleasant to go for a run outdoors. This afternoon I did a 6-mile jog from my place to the South Pointe Pier. It was glorious.

During my run, I saw a ton of people jogging with their pets and I got majorly jealous. I've been contemplating bringing home a dog or a cat to keep me company since my move. Unfortunately, my frequent travels and hectic work schedule have been two major and valid deterrents. Nevertheless, in moments of weakness I still hopefully peruse local adoption listings and sites like PuppySpot that connect responsible breeders with people like me that are searching for a new pet.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for New Food Finds - Stiltsville Fish Bar

Before I begin today's post, I want to say #thankyoumiami. Thank you for believing in this blog and thank you for following along on our Miami journey. Thank you also for nominating us a second year in a row as Best Local Blogger in the South Florida Blogger AwardsWriting new posts is fun because you make it fun by allowing us to entertain you with our silly stories and our news about our beautiful coastal community. You smart, you loyal, we appreciate you. (And we'll love you forever if you vote for us!) And now, for our regularly scheduled programming...

When it comes to landmarks, nothing is more Miami than Stiltsville. Its seven weathered, wooden houses are beacons of "a rascally mischievous past". In its heyday, Stiltsville was a utopia for the seafaring bon vivant, a place with its own rules. Today the remaining structures are off-limits to most of us, but they are a friendly and familiar face in the middle of Biscayne Bay.

Since I moved to Miami in 2006, I have passed Stiltsville numerous times—on the way out to snorkel at Fowey Rocks, to sail in open water, and to dive the Miami Wreck Trek. But, until this past August, I had never set foot there. My first visit was everything I dreamed it would be. There were boats, there were babes, there was booze, and there was a buffet of fresh seafood. The occasion? The long-awaited arrival of Stiltsville Fish Bar to Sunset Harbour.

Monday, October 2, 2017

#ThankYouMiamiGoesToCA - Sister Roadtrip to Joshua Tree

Miami has many things but it severely lacks two: my sisters. My younger siblings Carla and Lucy, who are twins, live spread out across the country. Carla is in Boston studying her Master's and working towards becoming a dentist. Lucy is in San Francisco applying her passion and smarts for mechanical engineering with Sail Drone. I am here in Miami building a career as an environmental professional and writer.

The twins and I are almost six years apart in age so we haven't always been the best of friends. However, as we've gotten older, our age difference has become less significant and we've grown closer, making our geographical distance feel infinite. This past summer we decided to do something about it by planning our first ever sisters trip. It consisted of a road trip from San Francisco, stopping briefly in Los Angeles, and ending in Joshua Tree National Park where we rented this mid-century hiking and camping cabin on AirBnB.

The three of us have very different personalities, but we're all adventurous and silly. (The combination led to some really interesting scenarios.) In my first YouTube video since my Rivas, Nicaragua trip in June 2014, I share the story of our sister bonding in Joshua Tree. Where do you think we should take our talents to next?


Thursday, September 28, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Luxury Living with Sobe Villas

The Miami skyline is awe-inspiring in its colored beginnings—the high-rise condos that comprise it rose from the ashes of tumultuous times—and in its promise of a dream life. A Miami life is a good life. Nothing symbolizes our lifestyle quite like a luxury home with its clean lines, natural materials, and stunning views. Given how rapidly our city is developing and our high volume of seasonal residents, it is no surprise there are many properties that are sitting pretty amidst that skyline, waiting for us to capitalize on them and make them our bon vivant HQ.

Sobe Villas is the South Beach-based rental agency ready to make all of our luxury living dreams happen in the 305, whether you're a visitor looking for a taste of the Miami lifestyle or a local in need of a memorable staycation. They have access to a carefully curated inventory of Miami villa rentals and Miami condo rentals that look straight out of Ballers. I've flipped through the options and I've coveted them without abandon. I've even daydreamed what my time would look like in each one. After all, this is Miami so you've got to have a different luxury property for every occasion.

Below I share three of my favorite properties currently listed on Sobe Villas and my vision for relishing each one. Which of the three is your favorite? What other properties did you find listed that you would like to enjoy?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Miami Spice (Part 2)

First and foremost, I hope that you all stayed dry and safe during Hurricane Irma earlier this week. It was a helluva storm but we were lucky that, save for most of our tree canopy and our power lines, we were spared of her worst. On my end, I was lucky to have found shelter with a friend in Brickell, whose apartment lost water for two hours and A/C toward the end. My apartment is perfectly okay and finally had its electricity restored as a birthday present to me today.

I am sure like me you are itching to get back to normalcy. If you still don't have A/C or, like me, have an empty fridge after having to throw everything away, going out to dinner is the best way to get back into your daily routine. Plus, the circumstances basically beg for it. Lucky for you, Celeste and I continued making our rounds of the Miami Spice participating restaurants and found four more menus for your consideration. (In case you missed it, here are our first four Miami Spice recommendations.) This is why you need to prioritize them before September ends:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Seafood, Seafood & More Seafood - @SobeSeafoodFest 2017

By now you should have gathered that I'm a seafood addict. If it was financially and/or nutritionally wise, I would eat nothing but crab claws and lobster. But my token nutritionist friend Morgan, who has her Masters in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University, says I can't. She says I have to eat other things because "you need other vitamins and minerals that crab and lobster don't have." I know. I'm disappointed too.

So the experts decree I can't eat all the crabs and lobster every day, but they haven't decreed that I can't eat all the crabs and lobster in one day. Enter South Beach Seafood Festival, the shining beacon of my year. Each October this seafood-focused event descends upon my city with a week of dinners and events to celebrate the start of stone crab season. The main event—my "one day" of seafood gorging of the year—will take place on Saturday, October 21 and feature 18 carefully selected restaurant cafés including some of my favorite Miami restaurants (CIBO, Joe's, Meat Market / Miami Smokers, Nikki Beach, RED The Steakhouse, Toro Toro). I. CAN'T. WAIT.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Fitness Picks: CycleBar Doral

There is this magical land that opened up earlier this year out west called CityPlace Doral and in this magical land is a brand spanking new cycling studio that you need to visit ASAP: CycleBar Doral. In fact, there couldn't be a better time to visit than right now while you need to burn the billion-and-one calorie prix-fixe menus you're annihilating courtesy of Miami Spice.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Cirque Du Soleil's OVO

Cirque Du Soleil is not your average traveling circus. From the elaborate shows residing in Vegas to the colorful tents that pop up throughout the country— they are known for flawless stunt execution and mesmerizing costumes that are always governed by a unique and otherworldly theme. The kind of extravagance and showmanship perfectly suited for dazzling metropolitan cities like Miami. This summer, Cirque Du Soleil’s latest show, OVO, made a pit stop at the American Airlines Arena and we were lucky enough to get an exclusive peek of the show, including a behind-the-scenes tour.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Miami Spice (Part 1)

Can you believe there are people out there who don't enjoy food? I can't either and I'm certainly not one of those people. In fact, whenever I go to a restaurant it gives me great anxiety to pick what I want to eat because in all honesty, I want to eat aaaaallll the foods.

When Miami Spice rolls around every August and September, I get giddy with excitement. It's like a two-month birthday present from Miami to me. (PSA: My birthday is September 13.) Not only do I get to eat more of the foods, but I also get to try restaurants that I can't afford the remaining 10 months of the year. Ergo, I lose myself in a whirlwind of three-course menus and emerge on October 1st a pleasantly plump and happy niña.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Talks 5 Miami Chef Cooking Hacks

Growing up, my mom cooked everything from scratch. Even the tomato sauce in our soups and pastas was homemade, Italian grandma style. For some reason, I never valued learning how to cook from her. I was probably too busy being a Boca brat and throwing tantrums about not being able to go to the Town Center mall with my friends. Alas, the first time I tried to cook tomato sauce from scratch to impress a guy it came out a watery, bland mess. Luckily, he was a gentleman about it and pretended like it was edible. (It was not.)

Do you like to cook? More importantly, are you good at it? Whether you're a liability in the kitchen like me or a culinary superstar like mamá, these five hacks from Miami's renowned chefs will bring your cooking game to the next level:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Seasonal Seafood Specials - Summer Duos at Bonefish Grill

Earlier this year my dad suffered a serious health scare. I know it shouldn't work this way but when my parents told me about it, it made me realize I haven't been spending enough time with them. I probably saw them five times total last year. It's a bit ridiculous considering they live a mere one-hour drive away, in Boca. I mean, there are people who live within flight distance of their parents and probably visit them more frequently.

Since the "incident," both my parents and I have been putting forth a more meaningful effort to see each other. We've settled on a non-negotiable average of once a week, even if our schedules only allow for an hour of catching up at Starbucks. Together we've watched soccer games and Hallmark movies from their couch, explored Miami's cultural gems, moved me into my new apartment, and eaten our way through Boca and Miami.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Talks Hair Transformations

If it wasn’t for my mom, I would have no beauty routine to speak of. She was the one who introduced me to waxing, facials, and mani-pedis, subsidizing them throughout my teens until they became a permanent fixture in my budget. In middle school, she bought me my first make-up set comprised solely of Bobby Brown products, most of which lasted me past college and which I still buy today. (For the record, I recently discovered make up expires—that she forgot to tell me.)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A #ThankYouMiami Ode To Sunset Harbour

It's been almost three years since we've published a neighborhood feature so it was only right that I break the dry spell by writing an ode about one of my favorite Miami neighborhoods: Sunset Harbour. After all, the neighborhood is undergoing a renaissance. I know it's been up-and-coming for quite some time, but it seems like a thousand new and amazing places opened in the last few weeks or are expected to grace us this fall. Alas, there is no better time than now to revel in all of its glory.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#ThankYouMiami For New Food Finds – Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill

I believe that within food you’ll find the soul of a culture. A single bite can contain the tastes of mounting generations. Although,  I’ll be the first to jump on a plane to experience this first hand— I’m also I glad to say I had the pleasure of going abroad without breaking the bank (once again). A few meals ago, I gastronomically visited the Greek island of Santorini. My visit to Panarea Mediterranean Sea Grill sparked a sense of déjà vu, and I’ll tell you why.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Fashion - Desert Dreamin'

I spent the past week in California with my sisters between San Francisco, L.A. and Joshua Tree. The occasion was a sister bonding trip with the 9-hour road trip from San Francisco to Hidden Valley as its corner stone. Now that the trip is over and that it went well, I can proudly take credit for picking Joshua Tree as our destination. (Pre-trip everyone was a bit skeptical of my idea to venture into the the desert in the middle of summer. I was too when I saw the forecast during our stay went as high as 109 degrees.)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Bikini-Friendly Summer Cocktails

According to popular opinion alcohol calories don't count, but we're calling shenanigans. The minute we cut it from our diet we automatically lose five pounds. That said, it's summer and there's no better way to cool off at the beach than with an ice cold drink, meaning skinny cocktails are exactly what we need to stay in bikini shape all season. Even if you need a few days to get over the Fourth of July festivities, here are three must-try bikini-friendly summer cocktail recipes for your repertoire:

1. Pretty Girl Cocktail Recipe

This Ron Barceló cocktail is refreshing and light. Plus, it's the perfect excuse to support Miami-based artist Ruben Ubiero whose design graces the unique golden bottles of Ron Barceló Añejo Rum unveiled in Wynwood at the end of June.

1.5 oz. Barceló rum
1.5 oz. fresh watermelon juice
1/4 oz. fresh lime
1/4 oz. agave
2 basil leaves ripped

Shake ingredients and double strain over ice in a collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a basil leaf and an edible flower.

2. Summer Mule Cocktail Recipe

If gin is more your speed, this summer mule cocktail recipe from Hendrick's Gin is fruity, floral and fizzy. Just make sure to limit the amount of ginger beer to keep it low in sugar and, therefore, low in calories.

2 oz. Hendrick's gin
2/3 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. elderflower cordial
8 mint leaves
1 in. thick cucumber slice
Ginger beer

Add cucumber slice to collins glass and break with muddler. Add other ingredients, build all together over crushed ice, and stir. Top with ginger beer and garnish with mint leaves.

3. Verde Margarita Cocktail Recipe

Last month Milagro Brand Ambassador, fellow Mexican, and all-around awesome dude Jaime Salas stopped by our local watering hole El Grito to teach us how to make some super delicious tequila cocktails. This update to a traditional Margarita was our favorite.

1 oz. Milagro tequila silver
1 oz. Ancho Verde
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. agave nectar

Shake ingredients and pour over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with half kosher salt rim and a lime wheel (not a wedge).

Saturday, July 1, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Goes To PanIQ Escape Room (And Doesn't Escape)

I consider myself a smart, intuitive person—after last Wednesday I'm no longer sure. You see, Amber and I decided to check out PanIQ Escape Room in Wynwood, an experience where you are trapped in a room and you escape by solving puzzles and using hidden clues. Despite our best efforts, we didn't make it out of the "My Spy" room within the 60 minute timeframe. It really took a toll on our ego.

We breezed through the first three clues in less than 10 minutes. Our first desperate cry for "HELP!" into the walkie-talkie—the operators give you clues as requested or, in our case, if they see you're in desperation—came after we spent 15 minutes working on the fourth clue. "We need to get in the computer," Amber kept repeating (à la Derek Zoolander). "No, it's a decoy," I would argue. "They know we're millennials. They know we'll get distracted by the computer."

Monday, June 26, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Visiting Everglades National Park

Summer is here, which means it's time to pack your bags and pick a destination. While there are thousands of worthy places to visit, this year I'm all about the National Park System. Last year the NPS celebrated its centennial and, especially given the political climate, it served as a reminder that I need to take better advantage of our country's rare natural gems. Ergo, I am taking off on a trip to California that includes a two-night stop at Joshua Tree National Park at the end of this week.

Miami's Everglades National Park is an equally worthwhile destination. In fact, I couldn't leave for Joshua Tree without first making a pit stop to my local national park so I stopped by this weekend. I had not visited since I was working on my Master's at UM. Man, it is beautiful (albeit steamy, this time of year)!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Indulges in Coral Gables Restaurant Week

On Saturday afternoon, after a two-hour Vixen Workout Master Class, I was starving so I called up Jamison and begged him to grab lunch with me. He lives and works in Coral Gables so we agreed to meet at his office near Miracle Mile and walk somewhere to eat. I had big hopes for the places he would recommend—you may recall Jamison is an expert on lunching like a local in Coral Gables—and he did not disappoint.  In fact, going to Coral Gables turned out to be a genius move because they are smack dab in the middle of Coral Gables Restaurant Week. The Miami Spice-like promotion means 20% off prix-fixe menus across our favorite Coral Gables restaurants until this Sunday, June 25.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Blind Tests Vino (Reds Edition)

A few weeks back we celebrated National Wine Day and it was glorious because our friends at Breakthru Beverage came through with a super timely wine delivery. To commemorate the occasion, we invited our wine snob friends to blind test the two red wines they gave us. We put the bottles in brown paper bags, uncorked them, and let them breathe for a few minutes.

We poured a glass of each, not knowing which wine was which, and took a slow sip from both glasses. Halfway through the process we switched the wines by accident and had to sip out of the bottles to ensure the integrity of the blind testing process. Once we cleared up the switcheroo, we carefully savored each wine's unique characteristics before engaging in an in-depth discussion about what we liked, what we did not like, and what type of wines we thought they were. Both wines turned out to be distinctively different.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Learning Sushi 101 at Shooters Waterfront

God hit a home run when she invented sushi. It is quite literally the perfect food—a little meal in a chopstick-ready package. I love its texture, its flavor, and its versatility. I literally crave it 364 days out of the year.

When Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale announced that they were holding monthly "Sushi 101" classes, I was giddy with excitement. A choir of angels serenaded me as I opened my invitation to attend the June class. This was my opportunity to learn how to fend for myself in the sushi world. Given that Toni's Sushi is Miami Beach's only worthwhile sushi restaurant that doesn't break the bank and that they're only open between 6 p.m. and midnight, it was critical that I pick up the skills necessary to whip up some sushi the remaining 18 hours of the day. (One never knows when one might have a sushi emergency.)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

#ThankYouMiami For Our Natural Resources - World Oceans Day

In March we joined forces with Rubio's Coastal Grill to celebrate Biscayne Bay—"one of Miami's most underrated assets"—and their commitment to protecting our community's natural resources. This month we're partnering with them for World Oceans Day (June 8) to share six tips for keeping the Atlantic Ocean that graces our sandy shores clean and healthy year-round. Which one(s) are you most excited to put in motion? What other ocean-friendly tips do you have? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Brunch - NaiYaRa

I have loved NaiYaRa since it first opened in Sunset Harbour almost two years ago. (That beef jerky! That crab fried rice! That Sunset Harbour roll! Heck, everything on the menu!) My last visit was in March when I took friends there before the ZZ Top concert at The Fillmore and I was heralded the hero of the evening for my dinner recommendation.

To be fair, the true hero was Chef Bee for delivering the consistent deliciousness for which he is known not only at NaiYaRa but also at his North Miami restaurant, Oishi Thai. That man can do no wrong. His latest stroke of genius is launching weekend brunch at NaiYaRa. It is typically available on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. but, for one night last week, his team gave us a sneak peek during happy hour.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Celebrates National Wine Day

Today is National Wine Day and, as you can tell by the time at which I am writing this post, I desperately need this holiday. A huge shout out to 8 lb. 6 oz. baby Jesus for delivering it at this very opportune time. I plan to make good use of the evening by gathering my wine snob friends to indulge in our favorite Groth sauvignon blanc and our favorite Franciscan Estates cabernet sauvignon. We've rotated through numerous wines over the past few years and, with the exception of the greats (Caymus, Silver Oak, Veuve Clicquot et al.), we've narrowed down our bougie wine palates to these two go-tos.

That said, we're adventurous types so we're planning to shake things up during our celebration by engaging in a blind taste test of two red wines graciously provided by Breakthru Beverage. The best part? Like every good millennial blogger, I plan to live stream the whole thing on our Instagram. No one knows which brands or types of wine we'll be drinking except me and I plan to brown paper bag them with my eyes closed. It's going to be a riot to watch us sip, savor and comment on both wines. Follow us so you can tune in!

Are you planning to celebrate? If you're looking for Miami spots with good wine programs (and some with great National Wine Day deals!), here are my three recommendations:

1. Glass and Vine (2820 MacFarlane Road, Coconut Grove)
Come for the beautiful outdoor setting, stay for half-off wine bottles all day and half-off all wines by the glass from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

2. Meat Market (915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach): I love them for their Veuve Clicquot happy hour on Fridays at the bar, which includes complimentary passed bites, but their wine program is excellent every day of the week.

3. Rusty Pelican (3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne): The views at this waterfront restaurant are incredible, made all the better by their recently revamped wine program which now includes a world-class selection of over 300 wines. Today they'll be offering special wines by the glass in limited supply.

Monday, May 22, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for New Food Finds - Meraki Greek Bistro

Last week Celeste ventured to downtown Miami to Meraki Greek Bistro, where co-owner and executive chef Giannis Kotsos introduced her to the restaurant's new menu of one-of-a-kind, authentic Mediterranean dishes. Based on the 400+ likes that her photo from the evening garnered on Instagram, we'll venture to say you're intrigued by this new food find. Read below to hear what Celeste thought of its location, the ambiance and, of course, the food.

Meraki is located in Miami's best kept secret and—believe it or not—it's been there for years. It's tucked away inside a narrow alley on SE 1st Ave between 1st Street and 2nd Street in Downtown Miami. My favorite restaurant as a child was a family-owned Italian spot in that very same, mesmerizing restaurant village. (Think a less crowded Española Way.) I'm pretty sure my eyes lit up when I re-encountered the traditional red roofs on the romantic boutique buildings and brick floors, a true anomaly within the heart of downtown. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Making DÔA's Traditional Ceviche

Summer is making an grand entrance like a prima donna on My Super Sweet Sixteen. The bipolar weather the last few days is a testament that we're already settling into the seasonal routine of sweltering, steamy heat followed by apocalyptic downpour.

While there's nothing I can do about the rain, except remind you that true Floridians don't own an umbrella (we just don't), I want to do all I can to help you beat the heat. Today that means sharing a recipe for my favorite boat day/beach day snack: ceviche.

A huge thanks to DÔA's very own Chef Carlos Estarita for sharing his traditional ceviche recipe with us. My mouth is watering just thinking about how perfectly refreshing the citrus juice is and how perfectly light the fish is when it's hot outside. Plus, it's super simple to make!

I recommend using fresh fish from a fish market like Chef Estarita for best results. From experience, the best fish markets in Miami are Don Camaron on NW 37 Ave, Captain Jim's in North Miami, or Miami River staples Casablanca and Garcia's. Enjoy!


Monday, May 15, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Catches Up Over Coopers' Craft Cocktails

I'm finally feeling better, no thanks to my going out and "day drinking" at Coral Gables' House Kitchen & Bar on Saturday afternoon. Turns out bourbon isn't the best medicine for a sinus infection. Nevertheless, my outing was much needed and well worth it. It gave us a chance to catch up with our South Florida Bloggers friends who we haven't seen in ages. I also learned a ton about Coopers' Craft, a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey (read, bourbon). Here are five fun facts I picked up:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Talks Soaking Up The Sun In Miami

I have been in quarantine for the last week. My co-workers gave me the head cold that's been going around and it developed into a sinus/chest infection, sidelining me from going to work, attending the fun events on my calendar, and seeing the beautiful outdoors for 6 whole days. I'm still not 100%, but a full round of z-pack later I'm regaining my appetite and ability to walk without wheezing.

The first order of business as soon as I can leave my apartment? Seeing the sun again. Luckily, my go-to meteorologists on CBS4 Miami announced that the next few days will be in the 80s and sunny (except for afternoon showers on Sunday afternoon). That means its the perfect time to head outdoors and revel in that Miami sunshine.

In my book The HUNT Miami, I shared my five favorite places to soak up the sun in Miami. (You can find the feature on pages 126-128 of your pocket-sized Miami guide.) It was super serendipitous timing that, this week, the list was released on The HUNT Guides blog for your reading pleasure. Want the full list of off-the-beaten path parks, hotels, restaurants, museums, shops and live music venues I recommend in Miami? You can order your very own copy of The HUNT Miami here!

P.S. If you too have fallen victim to this traveling head cold, drinking water, getting lots of sleep, and taking z-pack were the only three things that worked of the 30 things—ginger and wheatgrass shots, tea, NyQuil, gargles, binge-watching 13 Reasons Why—I tried. Get well soon!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Keeping Summer Hair Healthy

I had "virgin hair" most of my life. ("Virgin hair" is what stylists call hair that has never been colored or chemically-treated.) Then, at 26, I decided to see if blondes really do have more fun and allowed the talented Emilee Coyle, now at Studio Platinum on Merritt Island, to give me a summer hair transformation. I have since gone from blonde, to blonder, to blondest, most recently under the careful care of Erin at IGK Miami.

I am addicted to being blonde. I look at pictures of myself as a brunette and, while my hair looks healthier—glossier, non-frizzy—the brown tresses don't suit me as well as the blonde ones. I don't look like me. So, I keep coloring it even as I watch its texture change, becoming progressively more dull and frayed from the chemicals as the conditioning treatment washes away from my hair in the weeks after my salon visits.

My mom was the one who made me realize how unhealthy my hair has started to look. Concerned that my hair was a warning sign of poor nutrition, she called an emergency mother-daughter meeting where she brought up her concerns. I quickly reassured her the state of my coif was a consequence of missing salon visits, not meals, and made a mental note to book an appointment with Erin immediately.

Erin's expertise comes at a hefty—albeit, well-worth—price tag so I can't always default to paying her a visit when my hair needs it. So, I have started relying on a three-tiered approach that is affordable and I can do at home to keep my summer hair healthy between visits:

1. Monthly: Hair masks for moisture
At least once a month, ideally every other week, I lather on a hair mask when I get out of the shower, braid my hair, watch an episode of The Americans, then rinse or wash it off. I love Palmer's Deep Conditioning Coconut Oil Formula and, when I'm feeling fancy, the Kérastase Résistance Masque Therapiste. They help my hair against dryness.

2. Weekly: Hair oils for shine
I blow-dry my hair—yes, I finally learned how—once a week. When I do, I help it look soft and silky with hair oils, specifically Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture's Brassica Seed Oil and Kérastase's Elixir Ultime Versatile Beautifying Oil. They both do the trick aesthetically-speaking, but I'm partial to the brassica seed oil because of its cotton candy-like scent.

3. Daily: Thickening shampoo for damage repair
Color-treated hair requires special shampoo to maintain its integrity. I have found shampoos that make my color last, but none of them seem to have done much to repair color damage. That's why I alternate them with Renpure Professional's Coconut Bamboo Thickening Shampoo. It helps with damage repair and I love that it is made from all-natural ingredients—a bonus considering the chemicals needed to keep my beautiful blonde locks.

How do you keep your summer hair healthy? What other advice do you have for counteracting the effects of coloring treatments? What hair products can you not live without? Leave a message below or send me a tweet @ThankYouMiami!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Miami Museum Month

The long-awaited Frost Museum of Science opens tomorrow in downtown Miami. As a major "science geek"—my Bachelor's and Master's degrees are in marine science—I can't wait to check it out and am amping hardcore about the gulf stream aquarium that is shaped like a martini glass. I'm planning to take advantage of their extended hours during opening weekend to stop by.

Turns out May is the perfect month to do so, not just because the Miami science museum will be brand-spanking new, but also because May is Miami Museum Month. For the occasion, local museums are offering special deals like "join one museum, see them all" and "buy one, get one free admission". Yesterday my mom, dad and I took advantage of the latter for a fun Saturday afternoon at the Pérez Art Museum Miami ("the PAMM"). 

Friday, May 5, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Making a SpikedSeltzer Paloma for Cinco de Mayo

I feel it is my responsibility, as your token Mexican blogging friend, to be the first to wish you a happy Cinco de Mayo. And, also to remind you that no—today is not Mexican independence day. September 16 is Mexican independence day.

Today's holiday is an American-created excuse to indulge on tacos and tequila without abandon, with "Mexican heritage" at its helm. I can't blame you, I love a good excuse to celebrate and let's be honest, tacos and tequila are two of the greatest things in the world. (Thank you, ancestors.) But before I proceed with today's nugget of knowledge, let the record show what you're really toasting is Mexico's unexpected victory over the French in some random battle and that, in Mexico, it's just a quiet little Friday.

That said, I relish in being everyone's token Mexican friend for this annual occasion. To that end, I have included a little blurb on Cinco de Mayo festivities around Miami I found worthwhile on our Miami Events page. There's all-you-can-eat tacos, bar crawls, larger than life piñatas, and free tequila shots on ice luges, because Miami... On my end, I will be hosting a happy hour for friends in South Beach and retiring home eat tacos and sip palomas.

I listed my favorite new paloma recipe below so you can join me no matter where you are. It's light and super refreshing. Oh, and while you're at it, don't forget to check out these delicious Mexican food and drink recipes I posted last year. ¡Salúd!

Paloma Cocktail Recipe
12 oz. Indian River grapefruit SpikedSeltzer (available at Publix)
2 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (Natalie's, available at Publix, is my favorite)
1 oz. tequila (I recommend Don Julio blanco)
1/2 slice of fresh grapefruit

Stir ingredients and serve in a cooler glass over ice, with half a grapefruit slice.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Talks Spring Menus at the W South Beach

Last week W South Beach extended us an invitation to try their newly launched spring menus at Living Room and The Dutch. I've shared a few evenings over the quirky handcrafted cocktails at Living Room but I have never dined at The Dutch—I know, right?!—so I was super excited for both. Unfortunately, due to a last minute conflict, I wasn't able to go. Thankfully our fearless contributor Celeste stepped in on my behalf to experience the evening and recount it for you below. (For the record, cedeing the opportunity to eat artichoke ravioli was not an easy feat...)

I'm not one to brag but, man that evening was delicious. One word: WOW. I think I whispered that under my breath countless times after sipping on most of the drinks and pretty much after every bite of everything—literally everything. I can guarantee that if I'm ever feeling splurgy, I know the W Hotel is the place for quality comfort food anyone can enjoy.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Cooking Seaspice's Serrano Ham Benedict

The mother of all brunch occasions—Mother's Day—is just around the corner. As the brunch capital of the world, Miami has a thousand different options to choose from to host mom's annual celebratory brunch. Well, this year we're inspired to do things a little bit differently. We're thinking of showing mom just how much we care by whipping up brunch at home, featuring delicious dishes from our favorite Miami restaurants. Sounds a little more special, no?

If, like us, you're inspired and up for the challenge, we share the secret to Seaspice's Serrano ham benedict below to get your menu started. This dish is one of a handful of new brunch dishes the restaurant unveiled for spring and appeals to the charcuterie fanatic in us. Go on—take a look at how easy it is to put together. Worst case scenario, you throw in the towel and head to Seaspice where moms will be fêted by 2 hours of free flowing champagne (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.), live music, photo booths etc.

Serrano Ham Benedict Recipe
4 oz. Serrano ham
1 Idaho potato
3 shallots
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
8 oz. clarified butter
1/4 tsp. chives
1/4 tsp. sherry wine vinegar
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp white vinegar


Friday, April 28, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for New Food Finds - Artisan Beach House

Ritz-Carlton has an impeccable reputation because they make great choices. At Ritz-Carlton Vail, great choices include ski valet and a daily s'mores/hot cocoa happy hour. At Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, they include a blissful spa and rum-centric bar, eatery and market ideal for quality mother-daughter time. And, at Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, they include stunning views of Baker's Haulover Inlet and Artisan Beach House, a restaurant by Chef Paula DaSilva with an internationally-inspired menu of the season's freshest local offerings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Runs (And Wins) The South Beach Triathlon

It's been almost one month since I participated (and won) the South Beach triathlon. As I prepare to run (and hopefully beat my co-workers in) Thursday's Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run, I am reminiscing about my short journey in the tri world and why this victory absolutely had to happen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for New Food Finds - Via Emilia 9

Few things are more Americana than a neighbor popping over with food to welcome you to the neighborhood. Ironically, the neighbor that did that for me during my recent move hails from Italy. Via Emilia 9 is a regional Italian restaurant specializing in homemade pastas and dishes traditional to the Emilia region in northern Italy.  Last week, amidst a flurry of boxes, dust, and other moving chaos, they treated me to dinner at their intimate 15th Street digs. The simple yet undeniably delicious meal restored my energy and lifted my spirits during a really tumultuous time, starting my new chapter along West Avenue on a positive note.

Monday, April 17, 2017

#ThankYouMiami Moves To West Avenue

There's a good reason for my near radio silence the past two weeks: I moved. Turns out, moving is harder and takes a lot longer than you anticipate. (You have WAY more stuff than you think you do. And, that delivery you scheduled? Yea, that's going to be inexplicably delayed.) But, now that I am all moved in, I'm excited to get to know my new neighborhood and get back in the swing of things.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Random Acts of Genius


This is a short and sweet story about a random act of genius I experienced yesterday while shopping at the Ross on Miami Beach.

After waiting more than a half hour in an ultra long line—it wrapped around four times and spilled over next to the shoes section—I was super excited to pack my newly purchased home goods in the car and get home for dinner. I pushed my cart, piled high with fragile and bulky items, with conviction to get it through the door. Aaargh! The wheels on the cart locked. I jerked forward, the new glassware clanging ominously.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#ThankYouMiami How-To: Cooking Brasserie Azur's Braised Beef Short Ribs

For the sake of our wallets and our summer bodies, we're hoarding delicious recipes so we can cook and eat at home more frequently. And, while our weekday meals are simple and clean, we're still foodies that enjoy the decadent dishes and bold flavors found at Miami restaurants. Inspired by the success of our DÔA pork belly bun recipe post, we've asked local chefs to share the secret behind some of our favorite Miami recipes.

Today's recipe is a hearty dinner—an elevated version of the traditional American dish of meat, potatoes, and vegetable—from Brasserie Azur: braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. How do you know it's going to be good? Red-blooded American and New England Patriot's tight end Rob Gronkowski is a fan.


Monday, April 3, 2017

#ThankYouMiami for Donuts! Fest 2017

South Florida's only donut festival came back last week for another gathering of the best donut shops, all in the good name of United Way of Miami-Dade. Our contributor Celeste was the lucky duck who, on our behalf, enjoyed a night of gorging on Mojo Doughnuts, YoNutz, and other local and national donut greats at MAPS Backlot in Wynwood.

She had never been to a donut fest and was caught off guard by the amount of people vying for sugary goodness. ("I haven't seen lines that long since the launch of the last iPhone.") Despite the crowds, Celeste had an incredible time trying all of the unique donut flavors, alternating them with savory finds, and washing them down with Concrete Beach Brewery beers. In fact, she started a petition to have Donuts! Fest in Miami more than once per year.

Below we share photos of Celeste's favorite donut finds, including Jupiter Donuts' mango cayenne pepper which received her vote. Did you attend? Which donut shop was your favorite? Which flavor won your vote? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet (with a photo!) @ThankYouMiami.

Images via Celeste Guerra
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