Miami is one of those places I fall more in love with each time I visit. With tropical weather year-round, and a melting pot of cultures and languages, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve transported to a foreign country upon arrival. And that is precisely what I love about it. There’s an endless list of places to eat, see and explore (a pursuit I happily welcome over the course of my life), but in the meantime, I’ve narrowed my list of favorites down to the following:
WHAT TO DO:
Shop onLincoln Road Mall – An open-air, pedestrian-friendly road, lined with a mix of affordable and high-end shops, outdoor restaurants, galleries, and street performers.
Bal Harbour Shops – An upscale open-air shopping mall known for its luxury retail, making it the most profitable shopping mall per square foot in the United States. Since it’s way out of my retail budget, I reserve it for window shopping and people watching while sipping an espresso in their outdoor cafe.
Visit Zoological Wildlife Foundation – If you’re an animal lover, then I highly recommend a visit to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation. The staff are visibly passionate about what they do, and you’ll get up close and personal moments with exotic animals from all over the world.
Walk through the Wynwood Art District –Wynwood is home to over 70 art galleries, retail stores, antique shops, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world, including blocks and blocks of Instagram-worthy graffiti and murals.
Relax in South Beach and walk along Ocean Drive – There are plenty of beautiful boardwalks in Miami, but there’s no better place to people watch than Ocean Drive. Think quintessential Miami – fancy cars, art deco buildings, and lots of beautiful people.
WHERE TO EAT:
Fratelli La Bufala – A casual spot with authentic Italian dishes. This is a well-known restaurant in Rome, so you’ll see many Italian expats dining here. Even the complimentary bread is dangerously tasty, but be sure to save room for their Neapolitan pizzas and delicious pastas.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – A sophisticated take on Southern comfort food, where everything from the service to the decor are on par. I’m still salivating over their perfectly made fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and classic buttermilk biscuits. Their bourbon cocktails are also supposed to be amazing.
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill – You really can’t go wrong with this menu, but the roasted beets & arugula salad, duck & waffle, and torrejas with maple caramel apples are a few items that should not be missed.
Joe’s Stone Crab – If you like seafood, then you can’t leave Miami without a visit to Joe’s Stone Crab, a classic Miami staple that’s been around for over a century. They’re best known for their stone crab, but I’m almost more impressed with their indulgent side dishes and key lime pie.
*If there’s anything you love about Miami that I missed, please share in the comments below!
Last week my girlfriends and I got together for a festive night of wreath-making. Considering I had never made a wreath before, playing host was a little ambitious, but I’m happy to report that the night was a success, and the process was much easier than I had anticipated. My girlfriends and I often get together for happy hours and wine nights, but adding a craft to the mix was a nice change, and everyone loved having a pretty wreath to take home. It was the perfect way to embrace the season, and we all agreed it might have to become an annual tradition. If you’re thinking of hosting a wreath-making party of your own, here are some tips to consider:
Keep the guests to a minimum – Because you’ll need extra space to accommodate the wreath-making, a smaller party is ideal (we had a party of seven).
Be firm on the numbers – Since you’ll be purchasing materials, it’s important to know exactly how many guests will be attending, so make sure to confirm each RSVP before buying supplies.
Ask your guests to contribute – Supplies can add up quickly, so you may consider asking your guests to contribute by bringing some wine or decorative materials for making wreaths (berries, greenery, etc.). Or, simply ask for a monetary contribution when you send the invite.
Prep the day before – If I’ve learned anything about hosting, it’s that things always come up last minute, so buying the supplies ahead of time will allow you to organize and relax on the day of the party.
Soak the wreath materials – Once you’ve purchased the materials for the wreaths, place the stems of the greens and flowers in water to keep them as fresh as possible until you’re ready to use them.
Designate an area for the craft – If you don’t have a table that’s large enough to accommodate your guests, consider laying a blanket down on the floor and working from there.
How to make the wreath:
If you’re using vine wrapped wire, carefully measure and cut the length of wire needed for each wreath (our wreaths measured about 43 inches in circumference).
Round the wire to form a circle and connect both ends by wrapping each end around the other to enclose the circle (see image below).
Add decorative materials by securing the floral wire around the base of each stem, and continue to wrap the floral wire along the rest of the greenery to secure it as needed (see image below). Add on layers until desired fullness is achieved.
I have my mom to thank for introducing me to this delicious recipe. She discovered it while eating breakfast at a hotel during a trip to Maine this past fall. It turns out it’s the most popular menu item at the hotel (and with good reason), so she was thrilled to learn that they were happy to share their famous recipe. We made it while I was home for Thanksgiving, and I loved it so much, I decided to package some up in festive mason jars to share as gifts this holiday season. It’s best served with milk for breakfast, but I have a feeling it would make a delicious topping on yogurt or ice cream.
Mix oats, sliced almonds, cashews, coconut flakes and brown sugar in a large bowl.
In a measuring jar, mix vegetable oil, maple syrup, salt and vanilla.
Pour over and mix into dry ingredients, making sure everything is coated equally.
Spread onto two baking sheets (no need to use parchment paper or cooking spray) and bake in a pre-heated 250 degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes (or longer if you prefer it more crunchy), stirring at least twice during the baking time.
Pour/ladle/push/scrape into a large bowl and add raisins.
Optional additions: Pumpkin (pepitas) or sunflower seeds, dried apricots or pineapple.
This granola keeps well in a tight container or freezer bag. You'll notice a difference between freshly baked and one week old, but one week old is still excellent! Even the two week old is good!
I think it’s safe to say that the second best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. There’s so much work and preparation that goes into the Thanksgiving day feast, that it’s only fair that it be savored in the days following. My family has a tradition of buying and roasting an extra turkey for the sole purpose of carving it up for leftovers; turkey enchiladas, turkey tetrazzini, turkey filled crepes, but above all, turkey sandwiches. We keep the recipe pretty simple – rye bread, mayo and a few layers of turkey. But this year I decided to mix it up a bit and try some new ingredients. I’ll always love the simple turkey sandwiches we’ve made in years past, but this elevated version, with its perfect mix of sweet and savory, might just become a new tradition. Here’s how to make it:
Rustic multigrain bread
Roasted turkey, sliced
Cranberry sauce (I used this recipe)
1. Lightly brush the outsides of each bread slice with olive oil.
2. Grill slices in frying pan over medium heat.
3. With bread still in pan, add a layer of brie.
4. Remove bread from pan and top with turkey, cranberry sauce and arugula.
There are a few pieces I believe every girl should own, and a comfy plaid shirt is one of them. They’re a staple for men and women alike, and while I rotate mine through every season, they’re especially fitting at this time of year. I own at least five different styles, and because they’re so classic and versatile, it’s easy to rationalize getting “just one more.” I typically wear more fitted button downs, but I recently added this one to the mix and I’m loving the cozy fit. It’s a little more oversized, but it looks just as great tucked into a pair of jeans as it does with leggings and slippers around the house. For additional styles, check out the rest of Madewell’s collection here(everything is currently 25% off!)