Thursday, April 30, 2009

Air Potatoes in Miami

Last weekend, I went and volunteered with the city's environmental department - DERM - and helped them remove the dreaded invasive species called the air potato. I don't know what the scientific name for these tubers is but they grow wild on a vine and take over the local landscape. This removal was held at the Kendall Indian Hammocks an archeological site. I even found a super old Yuengling bottle buried in the dirt. It's not for the squeamish though - the entire hammock is full of little South Florida critters like weird looking worms and banana spiders. It was a fun event though and I felt like I helped out the community. DERM's next events are scheduled for the fall and include more invasive plant removal and cleaning up our waterways. Here are some photos from my adventure:

Showing me how to find the transient tubers.

A banana spider hanging out in its web.

This is what the vine looks like - if you have it in your yard - watch out!

A freshly dug up air potato.

The air potato.

Me, tangled up in vines.

Got 'em!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Miamian went home to New Orleans

Last week, I went back to New Orleans for French Quarter Fest. It is by far better than Jazz Fest (which is overpriced and you get baked in the sun for a good 8 hours). I went back, saw old friends and ate really good food. Not that you can't find good food in Miami - but everywhere you go in New Orleans you are sure to find good food. I went to Cafe du Monde and had wonderful beingets and found a crawfish boil on the street which was delicious. Napoleon House is one of my favorite Quarter places to have lunch. The food and drinks there are fantastic. I didn't take any pictures from our late night adventures but took some when we were wandering around the Quarter during the day. Here they are:
People playin' music in Jackson Square

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! How will you celebrate?

I plan to go Sunday to the Bike Miami Day in Coconut Grove, provided I either get my car back from the shop or find a way there, as the grove is a bit too far for me to ride there and back, unfortunately...

Also, happy Administrative Assistant Day. Take note if you have one, you know you can't live without him or her...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rain Rain

This morning I woke up and my house was totally dark. Not because I woke up early or anything, but because we had a pretty intense rainstorm this morning. This is good because we are in dry season and are on a no-burn ban (technically we shouldn't be grilling outside.)

Now, it's interesting, because Lola just posted a melancholic ode to rain, which got me in the mood for an intense storm. Don't get me wrong, I love the sun, but after awhile you just feel sunbleached. I love our summer season because you can get up and go to the beach in the morning, get all toasty and leave just in time to avoid the crazy storms that hit in the afternoon. It's the perfect opportunity to shower off the sand, saltwater and sun, and snooze for an hour or two at home. Nothing is more relaxing.

Where does this go? Nowhere really. I have no exciting stories to tie to the manic, bipolar weather we get here in South Florida, but after spending the entire weekend on the beach (and congrats to me for not getting horribly sunburned again) it was refreshing to wake up to an overcast sky and the sound of rain slamming down on my roof. I went to work much more relaxed than normal for a Monday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lincoln Road Market

I have made a resolution to go to the beach more often. I love the beach but never go, and I am always totally relaxed afterwards. On a recent foray, I decided to walk around Lincoln Road because I was waiting to meet El Capitan and El Pedrino, and I had forgotten how much I like to peruse the stands on Sundays. But my question to you, great and infinite blogosphere, which weekend is it that all the artists come out and display alongside the fruit stands?

In the meantime, here's some photos:



This spice stand is new, and I love that it's there. I also love the way it smells... mmmm



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Art about town

As you probably know, last weekend was the Wynwood Art Walk, and as usual I went down to help out at the gallery and scope out the others. I was a bit hesitant because of the rain, but fortunately it ended up being a really pretty night. My biggest complaint about the whole art walk scene is that it's become the "free booze" walk for many, and really that's disappointing. Unavoidable but disappointing.

Nevertheless, I had a good time. I didn't walk as far as usual because 1. my typical crew wasn't around and 2. I made the brilliant decision to wear new sandals. I still hit my favorite galleries and learned that Locust is moving to the Design District. This was the last walk they will host in Wynwood. Sad, but I haven't been as impressed with their exhibits as of late. Hopefully they become more interesting once they move.

Anyway, photos for you all:

What's inside the trailer? Take a peek and you will see several of these inviting and friendly beasts:

Disturbed? Drunk? Want to speak your mind and have it recorded? Go on ahead:

In all seriousness, let's check out some of the galleries. How about one of my favorites, Praxis?
(Francisco Uribe)

Thank you Praxis for constantly changing it up, and having an interesting mix of artists.

Across the street is the David Castillo Gallery, another one of my faves for the same reason
More Francisco Uribe. I see his stuff and it automatically appears here. I like his creativity with colors, resources and 3D awesomeness.

Then at the new gallery where Typo was, I found this awesome dude (the stuff on the walls? eh...)

And as I customarily do, this is the newest street art, all over Wynwood. It's replaced the Hecho con Amor en Colombia signs:

Sort of across from the UM Gallery was this guy:

Speaking of the UM Gallery, I was really disappointed with it this month. There were some interesting things there, but the gallery was really rather sparse and the collections were disjointed. I wasn't a fan. Though they did have a DJ from WVUM on their porch, which was cool.

I digress from my street art though. This last work pretty much sums up how I feel in the morning before I get my daily dose of caffeine:

Monday, April 13, 2009

OT: A Miamian in New York

So I am back and fully rested from my time in New York. I didn't go for vacation, but for work. Now, I want to say that while I appreciate NYC for its variety of cultures, shops and restaurants, I just don't get it. I mean, it's a huge city, too much for me, and I feel like you can't see the sky, which makes me feel trapped. However, I have also never been in the city longer than two days at a time, so perhaps I can't judge it yet.

Anyways, while there for work, we got a day in the city. I saw my first Broadway play, Phantom of the Opera, went to Little Italy again, and visited a small part of Central Park for the first time. Being there this last time, I felt like I need to go for a week and really visit NYC the way it should be done. But I snapped some pictures:
(You can take a girl out of Miami, but you can't take Miami out of the girl it seems)

Ice skating! It was 50 degrees, so I don't know how the ice stayed that way, but still cool. This is 30 Rock, for those of you who don't know.

Thirty Rock again. I'm more than a little addicted to that show, btw.

I like the old with the new here...

When you never see green, you've got to get creative I guess. This is the Trump building apparently. I am not obsessed with that show, obviously

Little Italy is not like real Italy. But they work with what they have.

Central Park:

They say you don't feel like you are in the city in Central Park. I disagree. It's still nice though. If I go back with non-work people, I'm totally climbing all the rocks like a 6-year-old...


Friday, April 10, 2009

Miami needs to get creative

On August 9, the Miami Herald reported that hotel taxes dropped 24% in February, compared to a 17% drop in January. This is serious guys. With all the economic worries, it's assumed that tourism will drop, but when it's a lifeblood of the local economy, this spells disaster. Looking at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau's, 2007 Economic Impact study 17,117.9 billion dollars was generated by tourism in 2007, feeding jobs and economic growth. With these numbers dropping through the floors, not only will South Beach be a bit quieter, but so will all the rest of the city, as monies dry up for community improvement.

If that's not enough, the bureau's findings on employment in the tourism sector shows that jobs have been steadily declining since March of 2008.

What does that mean for the 5th poorest city in the United States? It means that we have a huge problem looming over us. This is not the time for one of our primary industries to tank. So what does Miami-Dade and the State of Florida do about this? This is what I think. The city and state need to work together to create a long-term strategic plan to bring people back into Miami. We can no longer rely on our pretty beaches and palm trees to make money for us. We need to become a city that lures businesses in, but that is going to take more than tax breaks.

I challenge anyone to tell me why someone would want to relocate a business to an area with a bleeding school system, one of the lowest levels of college graduates in the country, a transient work force and a prime location for hurricanes. Of this list, only one is out of our control. If we create a system where education and community service are priorities, and skilled workers are compensated on the same average as their peers in other parts of the country, we will see more people remaining in our community. We will cultivate future community leaders who will give back in time, volunteerism or donations to organizations that reach out to under-served communities. We will also show the rest of the country that Miami is worth investing in, bringing business to our shores and thus bringing in a long-term thriving work force, who realize we are more than Wet Willies, Miami Vice and South Beach.

Clearly these are not the only things that need to be done, but we need to be proactive and look at the first things that need to be changed now in order to bring long-term stable profitability into our community.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Dear South Florida,

I miss you. I know I have only been gone for a few hours, but it's true. No, I don't mean to whine or sound like a high schooler separated from her first boyfriend, but it's true.

I take back my grumbling about needing a vacation after the ridiculous hours I put in for an event this week. Right now I am sitting in a desolate room in New York, Westchester County to be exact and it's rainy, overcast and foggy. The trees are nowhere near in bloom and there's not event a hint, a flirtation of the bright bursts of color you see all over Miami.

Oh Miami, I promise when I come back that I will lounge lazily on your beaches, without a care in the world.

Until then you will find me pouting like a hormone-driven 16 year old. In New York.

Much Love,


p.s. - Sitting in the airport for an extra two hours, and then flying in circles for an hour was really not awesome.