Thursday, June 25, 2009

My take on Michael Jackson

Today was crazy. I mean, today two iconic people passed away. I think we all were ready for Farrah Fawcett to pass. She had a rare and terribly painful cancer. But Michael Jackson? The man has been on a downward spiral since the early 90s (remember Free Willy everyone?) but he is truly an icon. I remember being a kid and rocking out to Thriller on cassette tape in my mom's van, and on record at our house. My brother, now a musician himself, used to put on his "fancy clothes" and dance to Michael Jackson (he was six.) And I will always remember how we used to go into our playroom, put Thriller on the record player and turn off all the lights for the Vincent Price part, just to scare each other.

It's strange, knowing that a pop music icon that you listened to almost obsessively as a child has passed on. Especially when it was so unexpected. He wasn't old, he didn't appear to have any sort of cancer. The only indicator that he may go young would be how much he mutilated his own body, and how badly he feared germs. I don't know if he ever molested those kids, and I won't lie, I wouldn't be surprised if he did, but that's not the point. Now it really feels like the end of an era.

And on a final note, I find it interesting that this story broke with a non-traditional medium. However most of the people I follow on Twitter, and many I met today at a networker event all said the same thing: I won't believe it until it's reported on the AP Wire, CNN or similar. So maybe the traditional media is not one of the deaths we are seeing, but merely a transformation. Either way.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

South Point Park

I realize that I am late in the game with this post, as everyone else in the blogosphere posted about the opening of South Point Park in South Beach, but I just went for the first time since the grand opening and I'm throwing my $.02 in.
Since I moved off South Beach, almost three years ago, I haven't been back to that area, but before I used to go walking at least three times a week down to the southernmost tip of South Beach, sit on the rocks and relax. Only a few times did I ever wander up towards the park, and I remember it being picnic tables and grills, sort of a smaller version of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.
On Sunday, El Hombre and I went on a mission to get me out of my irritable, cooped-up mood that I had been in all day, and on the spur of the moment, we elected to explore South Point Park.
I love it. I think it's so cool. I like the windy paths through the trees:
Photobucket complete with benches to occasionally rest on.

I like the combination of tall buildings and the views of Fisher Island through the palms:

And I love that the path becomes elevated so you can catch a view of the water:

There's also a pretty cool playground for kids:
With funky benches for parents who want to relax and watch their kids play:

There's also the path that borders the water, with these things that light up at night:
and a view of downtown, through the port authority:

As we wandered down the hill, and towards the beach, I also caught some cool pictures:

We wandered out onto the rocks that jut out into the water where we saw many groups of friend camped out, enjoying the last few rays of the late afternoon sun, people fishing and taking pictures.

We also found a hidden cutey face!

South Point Park is awesome. The whole vibe was very laid back and fun, with kids running and shrieking the way they do when they are having the time of their lives, couples of all ages strolling, holding hands and laying on their backs in the grass, and families gathered around tables and benches. It's cool to find such a chilled out and happy environment in South Beach.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Driving in Miami

Today I was pretty stressed out at work. Really stressed out actually. So I went out to eat by myself. All was going ok, I was eating my salad and checking my email on my phone when I decided I felt like walking from Panera to PetSmart to go look at the kitties up for adoption (I'm a cat person so looking at the kitties makes me feel better.)

I was walking along and I saw a crowd of people gathered around, taking pictures of something and gaping. It wasn't until I stepped on glass until I saw this:

Apparently an elderly driver gunned the gas instead of the brake, rode over the parking curb, the side walk, plowed down a pretty heavy-duty sign and went straight through the window. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but damn! That's alot of car power, I mean, looking at the pole completely flattened and the damage on the car, the guy had to have really hit the gas hard.

I feel sorry for everyone involved, but really this is a sign that we need more strict regulations on drivers licenses, because while it sucks to realize you are getting old and your freedoms are waning as you have a more difficult time getting from place to place, if your motor skills are getting that bad, you shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thrifting in Hialeah

What could be a more interesting experience as a Gringa (who speaks very little Spanish) in Miami than an experience in Hialeah? Especially one that entails going to a collection of thrift shops on a weekend? Well, I did just that, with El Hombre in tow. We headed up to Flamingo Plaza, which is heralded as some of the best thrifting in Miami, to see what they had going on. We found gentlemen selling plants off the back of trucks, people in old cars with a PA System advertising pizza and lots and lots of shops with all sorts of things in them, including old stoves, bar chairs, wedding dresses, underwear and more. Many of the home furnishings, vhs tapes and board games reminded me of my childhood from the early 80s, like this:
Random things like this:
And who doesn't need a glass boot-shaped cup?

In addition, many of the clothes they had were your standard, basic pieces that people don't want, can't wear, etc, but then there were some truly glorious pieces:
(El Hombre was trying to decide which one would match his hat best)

I wish I could have grabbed pictures of the many late-80s wedding dresses with stains and huge bows, but I couldn't get around the crowds and I sort of felt bad. But I took advantage when I saw one in the window:

Outside of Red, White and Blue, which is by far the best and biggest shop, this guy was playing some tunes:
Kinda reminded me of Charleston.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

South Florida Blogging

This past Monday I had the opportunity to sit down with some of Miami's local bloggers to catch an early bird of Miami Herald's new section that showcases bloggers in South Florida.
The site, an aggregator, features more than 200 blogs across South Florida, to include blogs from the New Times, Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel along with local bloggers like yours truly.

You may be thinking, "yeah, well, so what?" Yes the Sun-Sentinel already has something similar, but this is far more interactive than a list that is lost on a website. Each blog is in a category (or two) and if you are interested in a certain blog, like parenting, you can click on that section and it will bring up all the blog posts that have recently been updated. You can rate the entry, see the ones with the most comments, etc. And if you click on the "read more" section, it takes you too the blog. So those of you fellow bloggers don't have to worry about your traffic going down.

"How do I know the Herald isn't publishing blogs it approves of?" The system is automated to pull from rss feeds. And if the Herald is willing to post blogs that are critical of it, like Herald Watch then you can be rest assured that you will be included as well. As long as your blog isn't focused on selling things/advertising things.

It's really cool to see that the mainstream media are becoming more accepting of social media now. Don't get me wrong, nothing can replace tried-and-true successful journalism, but that industry is not just tied to paper and ink anymore. Plus it was nice to sit down with Vice Queen Maria, Carlos Miller, Bark Bark Woof Woof, Mango and Lime, Brickell Life, and Dayngrous Discourse and hear everyone's idea.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A stroll around the Gables

As you may have heard around the blogosphere, last week was the great storm of Miami. Seriously, it was ridiculous and I ended up with major cabin fever. So when it finally cleared up, El Hombre and I decided to go for a walk around the Coral Gables Golf Course right before sunset. Despite the thick humid air and mosquitos, it was fantastic to get out and stretch our legs. There were lots of other people biking, running, walking and hanging with their families. We saw kids chasing lightning bugs and groups gathered, talking with neighbors. Clearly everyone else was eager to get outside too.

The golf course itself is not that exciting, and has to be kind of boring to play because it's very flat (especially compared to the places in North Carolina) but it has tons of these massive Banyans that have to be a bitch of a trap:

I love Banyans because I think the sheer size of the canopy is really really cool and there's nothing like seeing all those roots hanging down. The first time I saw one of these I was fascinated.

We also found this historic site, which we explored but never found the fig tree:

This is a nice walk and there are lots of really nice houses to scope out. But next time I will wear repellant.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bad sign over US1

So I have this weird part of my personality that's pretty obsessive compulsive about things and I tend to focus on things that are ridiculous or off-base a bit. When you combine these elements of my personality and then show me something that is poorly taken care of that ticks off that perfectionist in me, I have to snap a picture.
I get that the letters fell off. But fix your damned sign guys, you look like idiots. But thanks for making me laugh. And yes, I get that I'm immature.

Mr. Clucky - Don't Go!

I'm not sure if you have been following the Mr. Clucky case in the Herald, but let's hope that he's allowed to stay where he is. He's been through enough already - give the guy a chance! If he goes to the Grove, that wouldn't be that bad, but he's a Miami Beach staple. You can't take him away from Mark and his bike! To read one of the Herald's articles, click here. The story has made the national news - I just saw a video on

Monday, June 8, 2009

Goombay Festival

As we all know by now, this was a rainy weekend, one that made me glad I no longer live on Miami Beach. Even though we weren't flooded out where I live, we were still cooped up indoors, leading to a massive case of cabin fever. So Saturday, after the rain subsided, El Hombre and I decided to scope out the Goombay Festival in Coconut Grove. For those who may not know, the Goombay Festival is one of the largest black heritage festivals in the US, and is basically a celebration of the Bahamian culture. Bahama Village in Coconut Grove is one of the earliest settlements in Miami for those of you who may not know.

In many ways, most street festivals have the same basic setup: Live Music, vendors, food stands and entertainment, and this one was no different. Instead of arepas, there was conch, fried fish and crab (which I would have chowed down on, had I not just eaten at Big Cheese.) There were also these Miami Fair standards:

We also walked in at the perfect time to catch the parade:

I loved the costumes! So colorful! And the lead guy (photo above) was cheesing it up for all the cameras and having a blast.

One thing I noticed was the ambiance was very chilled out. Maybe it was because of the rain that has kept everyone inside all week, but everywhere you looked, people were laughing, meeting up with friends, enjoying food and dancing to the music.

One thing did not go unnoticed though:
Big Brother was definitely watching everything going on.

What did upset me was the amount of garbage on the ground. It was senseless, as the city provided plenty of trash cans along the street. I hate seeing so much litter, I think it's trashy and it reflects a lack of pride in your community. This is something I see throughout Miami-Dade County, but it just seemed so much worse during this event.

After we walked the length of Goombay, we took advantage of the clear evening to walk around the Grove, where I was able to snap these photos:
(Love that the Grove has a bike culture)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The other day I met up with my friend Rose to enjoy Buttercream Cupcakes and Coffee. See, it all started over a Facebook debate over whether Mishi's has the best cupcakes. I disagreed with her, claiming that Buttercream had the best. So in order for her to make an informed decision, she joined me in South Miami.

I would like to point out that El Hombre gets very excited when he sees this box:

Because it usually means that he will find something like this inside:
(Vanilla, Triple Chocolate, Oreo, Orange)

(Triple Chocolate, Guava, Vanilla, Oreo)

One reason why I advocate for Buttercream, other than how fantastic their cupcakes are, is that you can sit outside and enjoy your beverage and cupcake, in cute pink chairs and tables. It's on the prettier side of Sunset, between the circle and Sunset Place.

And of course, I had to give Rose the 305Misadventures tour of South Miami/Coral Gables, since she had never been in the area. So we toured up Sunset to the circle, down Old Cutler to Red Road, wound around Sunset Place, through to Coral Gables where we saw the backroads of the neighborhoods, starting from the Biltmore and ending by the ruins. The ruins, by the way, are under construction so I will have to stop by again in the next few months to see what's going on over there.

I would like to say that showing off my side of the city on a breezy dusky evening, with windows rolled down is quite a fun way to spend time with friends. Especially after cupcakes :-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Electric Pickle: Shockingly Bad

Saturday, some friends and I went to the Electric Pickle, formerly Circa 28, in the Design District/Wynwood area after a lovely evening at the ECOMB benefit at the MiMo Gardens. There's no polite way to sugar coat the experience. Even by Miami standards, the service was ridiculously bad.

We went in, after paying a cover (reduced to $5) and hit up the bar. My friend orders her drink, a very simple drink really, and it was made badly. Not incorrectly, badly. She asked me to taste it, and even with my compromised sense of taste (I am heavily congested and cannot really taste anything) I could tell it was heavy on the syrup. So she asks the bartender to remake it. He refuses. Now I put the drinks on my card because I didn't want to bitch about a minimum, so I took immediate interest. In between his offering her more lime (which was the problem in the first place) and telling us no, he walks away to take photos with people. Literally in the middle of a sentence. So, let me get this straight. We paid $10 between us, and $26 for two drinks in the bloody design district and you are going to tell me no, you aren't remaking the drink? AND you expect me to tip you? Sorry my friend, that doesn't work for me.

So we go upstairs. Might I add my friend was in a cast? The bartender upstairs says she can't remake the drink since she didn't make it in the first place. Understandable, but seriously? The bar isn't even half full and the music is sucking and I am questioning why we didn't just go to Vagabond in the first place. She sees us annoyed at this point, maybe even magically hears about the terrible reviews we are planning on giving the bar and tells the manager, who was behind the bar the whole time, the situation and he rectifies it. As we walk away, they see my friend is on a crutch and the girl apologizes again.

We go downstairs and listen to the music, which is only ok. My friend asks if they can play an 80s song and the DJ, who has been spinning 80s the entire time, looks at her blankly and tells her nobody would know it. Really? I had more fun at the bloody Denny's on Biscayne Blvd.

This bar, which has changed names and owners more times than I can count already has the odds stacked against it, so what gives? Judging by the emptiness of the club, it won't be around for long. But maybe someone should give them Bar School 101 - Don't charge a cover, play mediocre music, hire ridiculously rude bartenders that can't make a drink and expect to survive. NOT when you have a bad location and places like PS14, Vagabond, White Room, and everything popping up in MiMo.